New Zealand employers struggling with new hires who don’t ‘fit’

Robert Half research reveals 78% of New Zealand hiring managers have hired an employee who did not fit in well with their team. Read more here.

More than one in three forced to let employee go

  • 78% of New Zealand hiring managers have hired an employee who did not fit in well with their team.
  • The main reasons why new employees do not fit in well include an inability to work collaboratively (42%), lack of team spirit (35%) and not getting along with co-workers (33%).  
  • Of those hiring managers who have hired an employee who didn’t fit in, 39% have let go the employee at hand. 

Team cohesion is essential to ensure all staff are satisfied and productive in their role. Yet new independent research commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half reveals the majority (78%) of New Zealand hiring managers have hired an employee who did not fit in well with their team.

According to New Zealand’s hiring managers who have hired a staff member who wasn’t a good team match, the top five reasons why employees are struggling to fit in well with their new team are: an inability to work collaboratively (42%), lack of team spirit (35%), not getting along with co-workers (33%), lack of adaptability (31%) and the employee being overly confident (29%). 

Megan Alexander, General Manager of Robert Half New Zealand said: "Teams who work effectively and cohesively together are what contributes to the success of any organisation, with team dynamics underpinning the company’s overall culture. High-performing teams who have a sense of camaraderie are generally more productive, creative and innovative, which contributes to get better results for their company.” 

“A lack of cultural fit is one of the main reasons why employees leave or are asked to leave, which is why it’s important to check cultural fit before extending a job offer. Not doing this can be costly, as employers will have to restart the recruitment process, not to mention the burden of increased workloads for existing team members and lost productivity.” 

When asked what measures they have taken that have proven to be most effective when an employee was not compatible with the rest of the team, 60% of New Zealand hiring managers refer to talking to the employee at hand, followed by getting support from senior company leaders (50%) and getting feedback from fellow team members (42%). More than one in three (39%) hiring managers have had to let the employee go and 37% have tried to find the employee a better-suited job within the organisation. One in four (25%) have stated the employee had left voluntarily before they were able to take measures.

“When recruiting new team members, employers need to ensure the interview process goes beyond just ensuring candidates meet all the technical requirements. To avoid hiring an employee and later discovering they do not fit in well with the team and corporate culture, hiring managers need to assess each candidate’s personal qualities to ensure a corporate fit with both the team and the company values,” concluded Megan Alexander.

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 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 300 hiring managers in New Zealand. 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]