To fit or not to fit, a question of culture or values.

24 december 2018

The "click" between the applicant and the employer is difficult to measure, despite frantic attempts to do so.

Being rejected is painful, especially when it comes to personal, in your eyes perhaps vague criteria. A cultural fit, as it is called in recruitment jargon, is often even more important than the right skills and work experience on your resume. But is such a thing measurable? Can it be predicted by an assessment?

At Compusearch, we are sceptic.

The question of whether someone 'fits' with the organization does not predict much about how well he or she will function. The behavioural competence based interview that we use at Compusearch is still the best predictor for this. Be sure to make a good analysis in advance of what the company is looking for, so that it measures what it wants to measure. A good second is an intelligence test that is still a great predictor for success.

When it comes to personality, according to forty years of scientific research, the only trait measured by Big Five Personality Tests that has predictive value for success is how conscientious you are? The more conscientious people are, the better they will function in every job. Other personality aspects have smaller effects and differ per function.

Nevertheless, many companies believe that it is possible to predict whether you fit the club. Some companies let candidates indicate what they find important in a future employer and what motivates them. You get issues like: “My ideal organization wants to be the first, the biggest, the most ecological or the best”. You will be asked to rank the four options in order of importance. You also be asked answer questions about yourself: “In a team I am: goal-oriented, creative, innovative, people-oriented.”

Despite the fact that we at Compusearch are sceptic about a “cultural fit” we believe strongly in a “value fit” to predict long term retention of employees. Next to the primary focus on skills, companies also need to select based on values. The next generation applicants no longer wants to make an impression at a party with the keys of a company car. They want to work for companies that reflect their values like environmental awareness, work-life balance, personal development, etc. Many advertisements for jobs seem the same, while the companies are so different. It is time that employers show more of their values. Candidates can see to what extent they fit the company’s values. It always comes down to a personal conversation in which the companies values are verified and explained by someone who is trained in it.

Do you match? Some tips for applicants:

  • Ask what behaviour is essential in the job and see to what extent this matches your own values and strengths
  • Define for yourself what motivates you and what will give you energy at this company
  • Get a taste of the organization by a trial day or having lunch with some potential co-workers
  • Look at your own values, for example about working hours and do not ignore alarms

Are you going to have fun together?

Despite all the knowledge about career success predictors, mistakes are made and people's potential is sometimes wrongly assessed. Recruiting software, assessments, tools, checklists with competences are at most instruments that give recruiters a handle. They are absolutely not waterproof. Compusearch combines hard skills head to head job interviews with value conversations from heart to heart. Our clients want to start a relationship with our applicants, so the question is: are they going to have fun together? That requires different interview skills than before.

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