Anyone who’s ever spent any time involved in the recruiting and hiring function of a company knows the basics of finding the best candidate: education, experience, skills, and good references. And there’s one more, that fuzzy intangible that can be ever so important to a successful search: “organizational fit.”

You may not be able to define it, but you know what it means: how will this prospective employee “fit” in your organization. Are they a good match for the organizational culture? Does their attitude and persona have a good chance of meshing smoothly with the rest of your team? Do they seem to value the same vision and ideals that drive your mission?

Assessing organizational fit is a critical part of every new hire—if it wasn’t, all hiring could be done with little more than a resume and a check sheet.

But when you’re evaluating a prospective employee’s potential for contributing positively to your team, keep diversity in mind as well.

Individuals of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and religions from all corners of the globe have built this country into what it is today. And that mix continues to evolve—we have already seen very significant demographic changes within the course of our own lifetimes.

That diversity of voices is critical to building an organization capable of serving your ever-changing market effectively and meeting the needs of clients from all stages of your customer life cycle. But within the hiring process, we need to proactively strive for inclusion, and that can sometimes go beyond the check sheet.

Why? Because we’re all human beings. And human beings have a tendency to gravitate toward other human beings with similar characteristics. The need to establish connections with those who are different from ourselves needs to be top of mind—and sometimes we may need to work to make that happen.

A shared frame of reference, especially in any customer-facing situation, is key to establishing a rapport and connection with a client. It simply makes sense: if your client base reflects a certain demographic makeup, it makes a lot of sense for your workforce to echo that makeup.

But it goes beyond that. In this day and age, you need your organization to include a wide array of individuals of different backgrounds and capabilities. And within pretty much every industry you can think of, it’s easy to identify groups that have historically been under-represented in that field.

Let’s look at it like this: when you’re working to determine a potential hire’s “organizational fit,” don’t just limit yourself to thinking about what your organization is today—consider what it needs to become in the future. Every new employee that you hire is a building block to fulfill that vision.

Granted, organizational fit remains just one piece of the puzzle, and ideally, you’ll find all of the pieces you need for a successful hire.  But by keeping the need for a diverse and talented workforce front and center within the organizational culture you are continuing to build, you’ll end up with a better fit for your business, your customers….and your community.