One of the hardest parts of hiring new employees is figuring out how well they’ll fit into your work culture. Unlike education and job experience, where there may be specific credentials you’re looking for, “culture fit” can be dangerously vague–and uniquely vulnerable to unconscious bias.
Still, hiring managers tend to take pride in trusting their gut, and many screen for culture fit the same way: They get a candidate talking, try to establish rapport, and then make an intuitive judgment about whether the person would get along well with current employees. But since we all gravitate toward people we consider to be similar to us, even the most scrupulously fair hiring managers tend to think more favorably of people who remind them of themselves. The result is an uneven process that limits diversity and fails to secure the best talent.