How to transform your traditional hiring process into a culture add approach

Culture add 1

3 mins, 43 secs read time

We’re living in the future of recruiting, where companies are moving away from traditional practices of hiring to create a more culture-focused workforce. There are a ton of ways organizations can implement small changes to make their hiring both more diverse and more efficient – starting with a tech solution.

We sat down with Marlina Kinnersley, Co-Founder and CEO of, a people and culture analytics platform that helps companies build diverse and highly-effective teams, to find out what it truly means to hire for “culture add” in today’s workforce.

Q: What does traditional hiring mean to you?

Marlina: The term, “traditional hiring,” tells me that it’s time to innovate. It’s time to deliver a better experience for both hiring teams and candidates.

To me, the traditional process looks like this – resume screen, phone screen, in-person interview cycles, sample work test (technical or sales pitch), and the gut-check “culture fit” interview. It’s a long process and often times inefficient. It can also be difficult to fully evaluate a candidate’s ideal workplace culture.

Q: What is the first step organizations can take when moving toward culture add hiring.

Marlina: It may be helpful to look for a technology solution that will provide you with meaningful data points to drive better and faster hiring decisions. These solutions will help you hire without compromising on quality, while promoting diversity at the same time. I’d also add, that communicating the “why” to your entire hiring team and functional leaders will help them fully appreciate the value for the company and prospective talent. Many times, people are hiring to build out teams for company growth, or evolve departments with new role additions, but understanding how that role adds to your team and your business processes will make finding talent a lot easier.

Q: As a CEO yourself, what would be your #1 tip for someone looking to begin hiring with a culture add approach?

Marlina: The companies that outperform the market have diverse, high-performing cultures. For culture add, it’s all about values alignment in the context of workplace culture, cultural contributions and unifying mindsets to foster diversity of thought and create a sense of belonging.

“It’s never too early to develop your diversity, inclusion, and belonging strategy of which culture add should be a strong component.”

Culture add, in the simplest terms, means evolving and growing your team on all dimensions beyond ethnicity - so thought, personalities, experiences, even neurodiversity. These individuals will push the envelope when it comes to reaching your business goals in different ways and re-engaging the workforce with added diversity.

Q: What is the most common mistake companies can make when hiring with a culture add approach for the first time?

Marlina: It’s easy to say “we can do it ourselves” but we are naturally biased as humans. We naturally default to “who’s like me” and “how can we add more people like Chris, our Sales leader.” We want to hire employees who agree with your company’s values and beliefs; ultimately adding to your culture and build effective teams.

Q: Based on your experience, how do you think hiring with a culture add approach changes the environment of a workplace?

Marlina: Great question! A culture add approach helps to support a diverse and inclusive workplace culture - and a mindset that everyone contributes and is responsible for the culture. It also fosters a sense of belonging– belonging is the feeling of security, support, and acceptance when people can be their authentic selves both at work and at play.

Q: What drove you to develop Fortay as a culture-first leader?

Marlina: I’ve experienced a variety of workplace cultures from diverse, culturally connected ones where there was a sense of belonging, to functional but less connected and low sense of belonging. I’ve also experienced toxic ones where the company underperforms, and where there’s high turnover and poor employee engagement. It was a particular workplace that led me to see that culture was the root cause to symptoms of poor engagement, low productivity and talent churn. The need to adjust candidate-employer match with a more objective, predictive, unbiased and more efficient manner drove my Co-Founder, Bohdan Zabawskyj and I to create an ML-based solution that provided real-time actionable insights for better decision making in hiring and culture health.