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SXSW Interactive 2015

When Does "Culture" Become Bias?

Sometimes a company’s culture begins at its founding: a few friends, who hire more people they know and are comfortable with. Sometimes a company’s culture comes from its community: the people who use it. But at some point, what we call culture can become something else: we go drinking on weeknights (not parent-friendly); we are just a bunch of guys (not women friendly); we are just a bunch of people from Stanford… and so on. But studies show that the most successful companies have a diversity of viewpoints. The underside of hiring for culture is that many talented potential candidates are disqualified because they wouldn’t “fit in” with the company. At a certain point, fit trumps qualifications, and recruiters look for people with the same background and work style as the rest of the team. While this might make for a strong company culture, it limits diversity. This panel will examine the balance between recruiting for cultural fit and building a team of individuals based on talent.

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  1. When does a company’s culture cross the line into bias?
  2. What are the limits and parameters when hiring for cultural fit?
  3. What are the drawbacks to having a strong company culture?
  4. How do you build a strong internal culture while also hiring for diversity?
  5. What is the balance between fit and diversity that creates the most productive and healthy environment?



Rebecca Aronauer, Team Member, Leap PR

Meta Information:

  • Tags: leadership
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Work and Career
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate
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