NY Times “Guess Who Doesn’t Fit In at Work”

Published on 30-06-2015

My response to the “Guess Who Doesn’t Fit In at Work” article by author Lauren Rivera

I just finished reading the New York Times article “Guess Who Doesn’t Fit In at Work” by author Lauren Rivera and its an excellent read. It addresses some of the issues about hiring for “Cultural Fit” and yes there are many pitfalls to be avoided.

If we are not careful the damage can be devastating, preventing the company from growing further and can even lead to the death of the company like we learn in the book “Why the mighty fail” by Jim Collins. And I would like to illustrate how CompanyMatch works as a solution to many of the issues she raises.The Author Lauren Rivera is an Associate Professor at Kellogg School of Management and has has written extensively on hiring and promotion practices in elite professional service firms. I just started reading her book “Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs” and hope to interview her soon for the blog.

In the article she talks about how “in many organizations, fit has gone rogue” that sometimes “fit was not about a match with organizational values. It was about personal fit” and then the real danger when “left to their own devices, interviewers often define merit in their own image.”

Shocking things people do in the name of Cultural Fit and how to fix them

Lauren Rivera addresses many pitfalls and some downright shocking things people do in the name of Cultural Fit, such as an “avid Red Sox fan argue for rejecting a Yankees supporter on the grounds of misfit” and its definitely an interesting read because of the stories but even more because of her suggestions and I would like to build on that.

“First, communicate a clear and consistent idea of what the organization’s culture is (and is not) to potential employees.”

When was the last time you thought about you and the company culture you have created and more importantly want to create for the future. If that isn´t done how can you ever develop it further and how do you know if someone is a fit or not?

“Second, make sure the definition of cultural fit is closely aligned with business goals. Ideally, fit should be based on data-driven analysis of what types of values, traits and behaviours actually predict on-the-job success.”

CompanyMatch developed its technology with that in mind. By following our process you don´t only get a simpler way of analysing your company culture but as well you get a established framework that helps you keep yourself on track and moving in the direction you set out for yourself. Or as Business Philosopher Brian Tracy points out “If you fail to plan, your planing to fail”.

“Third, create formal procedures like checklists for measuring fit, so that assessment is not left up to the eyes (and extracurriculars) of the beholder.”

What CompanyMatch has done is to highlight core values so you can effectively hire employees that are different from you but because they have the same core values as the companies they will be able to be motivated and energized as well as enjoying the work you are accomplishing together.

“Finally, consider putting concrete limits on how much fit can sway hiring. Many organizations tell interviewers what to look for but provide little guidance about how to weigh these different qualities.”

It is never about just using an algorithm and leaving your brain and your gut feelings at home but there are a lot of things to consider during the hiring process, core values can be the foundation for those discussions and selections. Not just if you like the same sports team or “would I want to be stuck in an airport in Minneapolis in a snowstorm with them?” but are you going in the same direction and can´t wait to get there, together.

Want to read more about Cultural Fit, check out our blog posts

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