In recent years, organizations have trended toward hiring practices that were designed to fill vacant spots with individuals who would be a good fit for the business. “Culture fit” became a buzzword that meant a particular candidate was a match for the environment, mood, style and feel of the existing staff. Unfortunately, this hiring practice slowly took on a more sinister tone ultimately leading to unintentional discrimination.
What is culture fit?
Unfortunately, hiring for culture fit means you are looking for someone who you and others on the existing staff would be comfortable around – someone who could integrate seamlessly into the workforce. However, psychologically, we are the most comfortable around people who are similar to us leading to the automatic exclusion of those of a different age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or nationality. Exclusionary practices of this nature go far beyond hiring based on education, skills, qualifications and work history.
Can the pattern be broken?
Even if the bias is unintentional, seeking to hire based on culture fit is a discriminatory practice. Filling a vacant position with a candidate who is comfortable and familiar closes the door on candidates who might be just as qualified or even better suited for the position simply because of irrelevant differences. Unfortunately, culture fit becomes a self-perpetuating problem with every subsequent hire making it increasingly challenging to break the pattern.
If you were the victim of discrimination on the job or you feel you suffered during the interview by an exclusionary hiring policy, it is wise to seek the guidance of a legal professional as soon as possible. Based on your situation, it might be possible to hold the organization accountable for their actions while recovering monetary compensation for your mistreatment.