Finance leaders struggling with new recruits who fit in with company culture

New research has found Singapore’s CFOs are struggling to source candidates who fit in well with the team. Read more here. 

  • 71% of Singaporean CFOs have hired an employee who did not fit in well with the team.
  • The main reasons why new employees didn’t fit in well with their team include lack of team spirit (45%), inability to work collaboratively (45%), inability to get along with co-workers (38%), overly confident (36%) and underperformance/lack of skills (36%).  
  • Of those CFOs who have hired an employee who didn’t fit in, 26% have let go the employee at hand. 

Positive working relationships and team cohesion are essential for both employee job satisfaction and business success. Yet new research has found Singapore’s CFOs are struggling to source candidates who fit in well with the team. The survey of Singapore’s finance leaders, commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half, reveals more than seven in 10 (71%) Singaporean CFOs have hired an employee who did not fit in well within the team.  

According to Singapore’s CFOs, the main reasons why employees are struggling to fit in well into their new role are: a lack of team spirit (45%), an inability to work collaboratively (45%), not getting along with their new co-workers (38%), overconfidence (36%) and underperformance/lack of skills (36%). 

Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director of Robert Half Singapore said: “The value of teamwork and positive working relationships cannot be underestimated. A company’s culture is represented by its internal teams working cohesively and collaboratively for the mutual benefit of the business and employee. Because of this, new team members who disrupt team dynamics can potentially put the company at risk of lost productivity and lower team morale.”

“For finance leaders, team cohesion and dynamics are an essential part of delivering results, which is why the hiring process for new finance staff needs to extend beyond identifying a candidate’s ability to do the job in question. Assessing a candidate’s personal and professional qualities to ensure they will get along with their team members and fit in with the corporate culture is just as important as assessing their technical abilities.”

When dealing with an employee who is not compatible with the rest of the team, the majority of Singapore’s CFOs agree talking to the employee to address the issue (64%) and trying to find a more suitable job within the organisation (45%) are effective ways of dealing with the situation. Getting feedback from fellow team members is one of the most effective measures for 43% of CFOs, followed by 38% who seek support from senior business leaders. Little over one in four (26%) CFOs have had to let the employee go because of incompatibility. 

“Finance employers need to develop a comprehensive approach to recruiting the most suitable candidate. By asking the right questions, the hiring process has the potential to yield powerful insights into the candidate’s motivation levels and their ability to work in a team. This approach will not only ensure the right candidate is offered the job, but also avoids the additional recruitment costs if new hires end up leaving the organisation during their probation period because of a lack of cultural fit,” concluded Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard.

Managers can avoid the predicament of poor cultural fit by employing a few key tactics when sourcing candidates:

1.    Know the workplace culture
A thorough understanding of the company culture is necessary before being able to determine the type of employee who will fit in best. Managers should assess the culture around them and communicate this clearly to candidates through an Employee Value Proposition (EVP), thereby minimising the chances of a misunderstanding between manager and candidate.    

2.    Look for a cultural fit in the job interview
Managers should ask questions that reveal insights into how the candidate works in different environments, with other people, and the management styles that suit them best. Probing into candidates’ previous experiences, both positive and negative, can also help assess whether the company culture will meet their needs. Keeping an eye on body language as well as asking questions about life outside work will also help determine their passions, values, and sense of drive. 

3.    Trust your instincts 
Basic hunches shouldn’t be ignored. If hiring managers think there’s something about a candidate’s response or conduct that raises a red flag, it is a good idea to pursue further investigation before making a decision. For example, if there’s a mismatch between the candidate’s body language and comments, it could be an indication their responses are not genuine. Asking referees about your concerns could provide clarity.   


About the research
The annual study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted in December 2017 by an independent research firm, surveying 75 CFOs in Singapore. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace.  


Katherine Mills
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
P: +61 2 8028 7757
E: [email protected]