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A Guide for Culture Fit Assessment When Screening Pharma Applicants (Free Questionnaire)

A Guide for Culture Fit Assessment When Screening Pharma Applicants (Free Questionnaire)

Learn about the various types of organizational cultures and figure out where your business stands in relation to popular frameworks. Download our free Xtalks Culture Fit Assessment for your next candidate screening.

Have you ever considered using a culture fit assessment for your candidate screening process? A culture fit assessment is designed to assess the candidates true alignment with the organizational culture. Essentially, how well they “fit in”.

Organizational culture is a widely recognized business term that has been well studied when it comes to the effectiveness of all kinds of organizations. Many may also refer to it as “company culture” or “corporate culture”. Essentially, aside from the everyday business processes, there is a cultural, social and psychological aspect associated with how each business runs. 

Simply put, company culture can be considered the overall “personality” of the organization. The culture involves the combined values, beliefs and behaviors of the organization which then directly impact everyday work procedures. Thus, “culture fit” is the alignment of the employee and employer’s cultural attributes. Basically, the end goal is to satisfy both sides with their professional expectations.

Read on to understand why culture matters in the pharma industry, the distinct types of corporate culture and the value in utilizing a culture fit assessment. 

Why is Culture Fit So Important for Recruiting in Pharma? 

Just like any other industry, the pharmaceutical sector is highly affected by company culture hiring practices. A “good culture fit hire” can prove to be beneficial while a “bad culture fit hire” can create serious hurdles in long term productivity. Not considering culture fit in the hiring process can lead to high turnover rates, low employee engagement and poor work ethic which inevitably leads to economic losses for the company in the long run.

Pharma employers are recognizing that hiring for culture fit is integral for their recruitment strategy. Business processes tend to run smoothly if employees work together under a common purpose or set of values and beliefs. There’s no doubt that a strong culture helps retain your current staff and attract top talent towards your organization.

The pharmaceutical industry has a vast global influence thus their workforces must demonstrate inclusivity, diversity and strong leadership. Developing drugs and medical products for the betterment of certain human illnesses is a noble undertaking. However, it has been noticed that in the clinical trials space, research and development or within the delivery stage of products, there is often a lack of diversity and inclusion with certain minority groups. Moreover, companies with diversity-based recruiting methods are 36 percent more likely to perform better than competitors.

It is evident that challenges have intensified as the global pharma industry is now working on getting drugs to market faster than ever before. Essentially, elements of organizational culture will always have a direct impact on the customers or patients. Thus, building trust amongst diverse consumer groups is key.

Company Culture Types: Where Does Your Organization Stand? 

Defining a company culture is completely subjective. However, there are some standard models that can be used to label the type of culture you may have. The Organizational Culture Assessment (OCAI) is a popular model referred to as the Competing Values Framework (CVF). It was created by professors Robert E. Quinn and Kim S. Cameron from the University of Michigan. Although there are four types of cultures, companies usually have a mix of more than one. You can utilize this model to attempt to understand your own culture more deeply or identify where your organization stands. The Xtalks culture fit assessment also includes facets from some of these types of cultures. 

Here are four types of corporate culture:

Clan Culture

The clan culture is collaborative, friendly and family-oriented. There is a strong sense of loyalty that holds the company together. Most of the pharma industry may fall under this type of culture due to the commonly witnessed objective of putting the “patient first.” Putting the people first and caring for the patient, customer or client is of utmost importance for those functioning within the clan culture. 

Adhocracy Culture

The adhocracy culture is creative, entrepreneurial and agile. They function on continuous learning through innovation, experimentation and have autonomy in their workplace practices. High risk is often associated with all their ventures. However, risk taking is very much encouraged as there is great confidence in their ability to create new products and services. The technology sector is a perfect example of the adhocracy culture as they are constantly innovating and disrupting markets. 

Market Culture 

The market culture is a competitive one. Achieving the highest shareholder value and dominating the market is paramount in this environment. The leadership is often directive and adamant on achieving results. Employees must be focused on winning at all costs. Organizations with these types of characteristics could be within accountancy, sales or consultancy. 

Hierarchy Culture 

The hierarchy culture is about control. We can describe this workplace as process-oriented, structured and formal. Rules, regulations and policies are meant to be strictly upheld. Management must pay attention to detail, administer tasks effectively and be cautious. The military, government or banking sectors are prime examples of these types of cultures. 

Firstly, it is a good idea to understand which one of these four culture types best resonates with your company. Then you can have a better understanding of which candidates would want to work in those specific environments. For example, if you feel that your company is a mixture of the market culture and the adhocracy culture, then looking for candidates who are innovative, creative, entrepreneurial and competitive could be ideal. 

Value of Using Culture Fit Assessment Platforms

Utilizing a culture fit assessment can assist in screening applicants faster and more effectively. Unfortunately, there has been much scrutiny towards companies stating that company culture is all mere talk for brand image and no real implementation ever occurs. So then how can human resources and recruitment within pharma actually execute culture fit strategies more constructively? Luckily, there are many initiatives to choose from. Xtalks has created it’s very own culture fit assessment questionnaire that can help employers screen potential candidates. 

A culture fit tool has its pros and cons. It can be a useful tool for screening applicants as it helps narrow down the number of prospects in the beginning of the talent search. Although, there is always a risk associated with assessments as they are an objective evaluation of the candidate. However, it is still always worth a try to use novel hiring tactics to test out the outcomes. 

The Xtalks culture fit assessment aims to ask open-ended questions, meaning there is no right or wrong answer and instead allows candidates to fully express themselves. The purpose of this assessment is to understand the candidate’s purpose, beliefs and the values that motivate them. The Xtalks culture fit assessment is meant to be an intuitive and human experience rather than a computerized assessment tool that filters candidates based on their competencies and personality attributes. 


In actuality, culture is built by the people. Hence it is important to remember that people’s ideas and beliefs are always changing as well. There is an emerging term called “culture add” that employers are starting to adopt to encourage diversity and inclusion. Thus we will emphasize that hiring for culture should not just be about hiring the exact same people as the company already encompasses. But it is also a way to check in on how different types of people can contribute to the diversity of thought within the company. 

Download our free culture assessment questionnaire below to use for your next hire or interview process. The questionnaire is meant to be filled out by the employer when evaluating for a potential culture fit.

Are you interested in finding well-qualified candidates within pharma or biotech? Here is a simplified step-by-step guide that can help you get started with our very own Xtalks Job Search, a valuable resource that can get your talent search started. If you have a question about Xtalks Job Search, speak to a customer support representative directly via LiveChat or drop us a message here.