Sep 17, 2009

The Cultural Fit



green eyesImage via Wikipedia
Very often - if you are a job seeker - you will get a response to your interview which is something like this:

"Thank you for your interest in our organization, and though you have impressive credentials we regret to announce that we do not find a profile fit in the organization for you"

That is a load of jargon to say : Hey, you'd be a round peg in a square hole if we hired you.

Cultural fit is what recruiters and hiring managers suddenly discover in a time of recession. It describes the congruence in the values of the organization and the individual candidate.

However, the big problem is that nobody ever really measures the values - both of the organization and of the individual.

How it is assessed is by subjective hunches by the couple of individuals in the staffing process - in which the thoughts of the hiring executive is something like this:

"Hmm, this guy seems like a risk junkie, he won't do well in our conservative culture"

Often, these subjective inferences are usually correct - and hiring processes weed out the highly suitable for the role but unsuitable for the organization people out.

However, I think that's not the way to go about it.

That is because it strengthens the existing culture - and a strong culture is a liability in the churning changes of these times.

A strong culture can come in the way of change - resisting process and structural changes - and hiring people who don't fit the norm is one of the ways in which organizations can test their tolerance for things outside their norm

So what do you hire for?

Cultural non-fits or cultural fits?
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