Job Search Tip of the Week #13 (2017)

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Cultural Fit vs. Qualifications & Experience

When Hiring, Which Comes Out on Top?




While researchers Dokko, Wilk, and Rothbard were investigating how career history affects job performance, a senior human resource manager told them, “We tried to hire from our competitors and paid a premium for the experience but [those hires] were the least successful.”

How could this be? Dokko et. al determined that culture varied so vastly across companies, that some of the most experienced hires seemed to require retraining to complete previously mastered tasks. In fact, poor cultural fit appeared to completely eliminate all the good that came from having the ideal skill set. That HR manager found out the hard way that prior experience doesn’t necessarily predict future job performance.

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

Why do some tech firms prefer to hire software developers who have a history of job hopping over those who’ve been using the same technologies in the same environment for a long time? Perhaps it’s because job hopping is an indicator of social skill and cultural adaptability.

In one related study, CEO of leadership research and development firm Leadership IQ Mark Murphy followed 20,000 freshly hired employees for three years. He saw that nearly half of (46%) of them failed as a new hire (i.e., were written up, issued negative performance reviews, or fired) within the first 18 months on the job, with the majority (89%) doing so due to attitudinal reasons (i.e. unmotivated, uncoachable, poor temperament, low emotional intelligence) rather than lack of skill.

“It’s not that skills aren’t important, but when the top predictor of a new hire’s success or failure is dependent on attitude, then attitude is clearly what we need to be hiring for,” said Murphy. “The right attitude is as unique as the organization to which it belongs…someone who is competitive and individualistic may be the perfect fit for a solo-hunter commission-driven sales force. But put that same personality to work in a collaborative, fun-loving team culture, and that individualistic superstar is doomed to fail.”

What You Can Do to Ensure Your Professional Success

When you do your research on a company, take a look at its employees’ LinkedIn profiles. What do they all have in common? Hint: It’s not something you’ll find on their résumés.

It’s attitude. A vast body of research supports the finding that candidates whose cultural fit is considered during the hiring process tend to learn and contribute more, are more productive, outperform, and stay longer their counterparts who were hired based on their credentials and experience alone.

Conduct extensive research to determine whether you’ll be a good cultural fit. Check out photos of the physical work space (Would you be productive in that environment?), company events (Do you share the same interests as your potential coworkers?), etc. Talk with your contacts within the organization to find out what characteristics they believe their top developers have in common, because that’ll be what it takes to be successful at that particular company.


Remember: No matter how technically capable you are of fulfilling the job requirements, if you’re not comfortable in your work environment, you won’t thrive. Do your research before and during the interview to make sure you’re finding the right cultural fit for you.


Sound Off: Do you agree that hiring an ideal candidate who’s a poor cultural fit is detrimental to the individual’s and organization’s success?


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Image Credit: The GLC Group


Blogging Forward,
CareerJuice


Did you like what you read? Subscribe to our free e-newsletter Make the Connection, and every month you’ll get even more of the tech news, recruitment trends, and career advice that you love seeing daily on CareerJuice. Sign up now to get your own copy of the next issue!