Defining Cultural Fit - Recruiting in the Dietary Supplement Industry

Posted by Ginni Garner on May 15 2013

Cultural Fit Recruiting Dietary Supplement IndustryThe dietary supplement market continues to show strong growth, reaching $28 billion in sales for 2010. Consumer demand for vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, sports nutrition and specialty supplements shows no sign of slowing. Companies competing in this segment of the health and wellness industry run the gamut from start-ups and small scale “mom and pops” to giant Pharma companies such as Pfizer and Bayer.

Because of this wide company diversity, finding the right people who are the right fit can be a challenge for those involved in dietary supplement recruiting. A candidate who’s an excellent fit with a start-up might be the wrong choice for a large established company. What’s especially important when recruiting is getting the right cultural match between the company and the new hire. In fact, one of the main things you should do in your candidate interviews is to assess each candidate’s cultural fit. If not, you risk creating what’s been called ‘culture debt’. This is what happens when a company hires someone with all the ‘right’ skills and experience, but who won’t be a good culture match. For example, there might be a talented R&D scientist candidate out there who looks great on paper; however, you learn that he doesn’t take direction well and puts off an arrogant, above-it-all manner during the interview. If your company culture emphasizes mutual respect and positive collaboration, this candidate would probably be a bad hire.

Culture by company lifecycle

Before starting your dietary supplement recruiting process, consider what kind of company you work in. For start-ups, you likely need someone who has persistence and flexibility, according to an article in Forbes about cultural fit and start-ups. “When hiring early employees, whether coming on as a social media expert, an operations manager or a sales person, founders expect employees to wear many hats – with a smile.” Other employee cultural attributes said to be valuable for start-ups is tenaciousness, a passionate commitment to the company cause, and the ability to be an “evangelist” for the company and its products.

On the other hand, dietary supplement recruiting into big Pharma will probably require a different type of employee to match the culture at these larger organizations. A candidate who prefers a more systemized organization and a job with well-defined roles and  tasks would likely be a better fit for a larger, more structured company.

Defining your company culture

Corporate culture describes the psychology, attitudes, experiences, beliefs and values (both personal and cultural) of an organization. You can find it by observing such things as:

  • Pace of work
  • Percentage of focus on short vs. long term goals
  • Management’s communication style with staff
  • Competition vs. cooperation
  • Team vs. individual orientation
  • Creative vs. analytical
  • Intense vs. relaxed
  • ‘Normal’ working hours
  • Acknowledgment and praise
  • Philosophy on work life balance
  • Ethics

It’s the behavior that results when a group arrives at a set of (usually unspoken and unwritten) rules for working together. Culture is particularly impacted by the company’s founder and/or key executives and managers. As a manager, think about what is valued, rewarded and reinforced in your organization. The founder of inbound marketing company HubSpot wrote in a recent blog that his company has five key valued attributes, and they look for people with these qualities: humble, effective, adaptable, remarkable and transparent.

Make sure that your dietary supplement recruiting process includes a major emphasis on cultural fit, so that you don’t end up with a negative culture debt. 


For more on hiring and cultural fit:

Creating a Culture of Rentention - Strategies to help you keep your employees.

How to Dissect a Corporate Culture - How to identify the components that make up your organizations corporate culture.


Sanford Rose Associates® - Beachwood conducts searches for companies in Food & Beverage, Dietary Supplements, Nutritional Ingredients and Health & Wellness sectors. We are part of Sanford Rose Associates®, an executive search firm with a network of 65+ offices and over 100 search consultants in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Founded in 1959, the Sanford Rose Associates Network has placed over 100,000 people and is the 11th largest search firm in the Americas.

Topics: candidate, corporate culture, Dietary Supplement Recruiting, cultural fit, recruiting process

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