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Old 01-25-2014, 09:14 PM
 
2,639 posts, read 5,221,710 times
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Good topic.

I have a singular opinion: The companies that hire for cultural fit, don't really have a good sense of what that culture is. It's really that the people in the interview are looking for their personal things about a person first before they care about skill set, because they don't want to look at a sea of résumés all touting the same skills. They want to try to find a person that will blend in with the current workers as an effective contributor.

Most every company I've worked for has hired me based on my skills and/or potential. I interview well, I'm a solid communicator, and if I don't know a thing, I'll do whatever's necessary to learn it provided the training is good enough. I'm not afraid of new challenges. I was thrown into the worst at a young age and came out better for it.

My current company didn't hire me at first. They hired a person who came from the same industry, so there was an assumption of natural fit due to that person having had direct employed experience with their same vertical market. I, on the other hand, had never been employed in the vertical, but I've had four separate engagements with companies that were, in different dimensions of the vertical, and frankly felt that I had superior experience variety to the one they hired. That person had only worked with technology; he didn't really know "the business side" as it were, whereas I was exposed to business and technology in working with contacts at my customers. I knew the platform better than everyone at the company, certified by references directly from the platform manufacturer. I had 8 years of experience with that platform, the other person had 2. Yet I still didn't get the job.

I got the sense from the hiring representative that there was at least a few that wanted to hire me, and I kept in regular contact with them. One day, they called me back up for another interview. Turns out another person in the same department left, and they were in desparate need of someone, and I was top of the list. Same interview process, same people, same questions, this time they had an offer already typed up and ready for me to sign. I accepted right away. Been there ever since and I think I've managed to prove to them that I'm worth every dollar they're paying me. But it was a rough road.

Working with the person who beat me out the first time was a challenge. I did not get the sense that person was any kind of cultural fit at all. They were not a team player, they were a poor communicator, they interrupted managers frequently, was untrustworthy, and gave incorrect answers about the platform to others. When I would correct them and let folks know what the facts were, the other person was believed over me because, again, they had vertical background and I didn't. Despite having set up the same platform at four different companies of the same vertical, the same way, with success every time. Team meetings just didn't go well because of this person, in my opinion. Eventually that person left for other personal reasons.

IN summary, I do believe that a certain personality fit is always a positive. That said, I don't think many companies really know how to gauge that personality fit beyond finding "one of their own" as opposed to a person that may be new to it but has potential to be trained or "socialized" into it. The idea of leveraging potential in a person seems to be a lost art these days.
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Old 01-25-2014, 09:41 PM
 
977 posts, read 1,556,239 times
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Let me help you out OP.

1) Discrimination against introverts. This leads to less diversity of viewpoints and contributes to many problems. For example, one reason for the financial crisis was outsized risk taking by Wall Street banks and other corporations. Business is full of arrogant extroverted, overly risk loving types. The introverted, risk averse types weren't paid attention to and there were not enough of them with clout to put a stop to outsized risk. This is covered in the book Quiet by Susan Cain.

2) Unconscious and subconscious discrimination against people from poorer backgrounds and/or of a different race from those in power.

3) Unconscious and subconscious age discrimination.

Too often cultural fit means extroverted and polished (read: upper middle class or higher) background.
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:20 PM
 
Location: MN
1,305 posts, read 1,410,515 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebrooks View Post
Have you noticed the high level of incompetency these days? Like, say, when you call customer service?
I'd actually consider that laziness more than incompetence. I have met many people who were in CS jobs for years and they always told me they did their jobs, even when they had the most irritating, annoying or downright rude. What often occurs is this sense of complacency-- as long as the bare minimum helps you keep your job, they can be as lazy as they want. The worker could have all of the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources at their disposal but if they aren't willing to take the initiative to do their job, the customer's perception will be one of incompetence.
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:21 PM
 
Location: MN
1,305 posts, read 1,410,515 times
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Originally Posted by statisticsnerd View Post
Agreed, and I have definitely worked at places where the ones who got ahead were not the hard workers but those who "fit in" the best. In other words, if you talked about sports all day with the other guys and attended the golf games and happy hours after work, then you were liked by management whereas if you were polite but just kept to yourself and only focused on your job while you were at work (isn't why they are paying me?), then kept your personal time for yourself, you were ostracized.

Shouldn't companies hire and promote based on who can get the job done? Novel idea, I know.
Such a novel idea, isn't it?
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:48 PM
 
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to me, cultural fit is the way that companies get away with age and gender discrimination.

...like, everyone in the marketing department is in their 30's. Fat chance of a qualified 50 something getting hired into that team.

Fair? no way. I'm in my 30's and really haven't had to face a "cultural fit" issue personally, because well, 30'something isn't too young, and it isn't too old. But I totally understand 20'somethings feeling that companies don't hire them because of "cultural fit," whereas it's because they are too "young." same thing in the over 50 club.
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Old 01-25-2014, 11:08 PM
 
24,503 posts, read 35,470,472 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by statisticsnerd View Post
Shouldn't companies hire and promote based on who can get the job done? Novel idea, I know.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintage_girl View Post
Such a novel idea, isn't it?
He already said that it was...
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Old 01-25-2014, 11:14 PM
 
Location: MN
1,305 posts, read 1,410,515 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mialia View Post
to me, cultural fit is the way that companies get away with age and gender discrimination.

...like, everyone in the marketing department is in their 30's. Fat chance of a qualified 50 something getting hired into that team.

Fair? no way. I'm in my 30's and really haven't had to face a "cultural fit" issue personally, because well, 30'something isn't too young, and it isn't too old. But I totally understand 20'somethings feeling that companies don't hire them because of "cultural fit," whereas it's because they are too "young." same thing in the over 50 club.
In my experience, the issues with cultural fit were more about personalities than anything else. I actually had my work ethic criticized along with my personality traits. Some fields want you to be "nicer" and more complacent and lack a back bone, while other fields prefer people who have firm personalities and can think logically.
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Old 01-26-2014, 12:58 AM
 
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Ah. I can understand if you are in a sales position and they want you to have more of a backbone, and to be more direct and assertive. OK, I get it. But like, come on... if your actual WORK is great, I don't think your personality should be an issue (unless of course you aren't friendly or whatever). "Softer" personalities can and still do exceptionally well in sales. - Same thing goes with management positions as well!

(sales seemed like the easiest type of analogy to draw from!)
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Old 01-26-2014, 01:10 AM
 
Location: MN
1,305 posts, read 1,410,515 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mialia View Post
Ah. I can understand if you are in a sales position and they want you to have more of a backbone, and to be more direct and assertive. OK, I get it. But like, come on... if your actual WORK is great, I don't think your personality should be an issue (unless of course you aren't friendly or whatever). "Softer" personalities can and still do exceptionally well in sales. - Same thing goes with management positions as well!

(sales seemed like the easiest type of analogy to draw from!)
I would also think your work would be representative of your personality, too. If someone in human services-- my previous profession-- was highly organized, did a great job of keeping on top of reports, communicating with clients, and met their quarterly goals, I'd think they were a great person for the job. In my experience, I have found that to be the opposite depending on who your supervisor is. I had to be less firm and more "nice" and become some outgoing bimbo and almost every day I was exhausted after I'd get home. My personality to them mattered more than my work ethic, in spite of coworkers admitting to me I was the only one who bothered to get work in ahead of schedule and followed guidelines to the tee.
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Old 01-26-2014, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Mt. Lebanon
1,844 posts, read 1,947,394 times
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IMO when you hire someone #1 criteria is competence. If the person is qualified and passed the qualification test then the #2 criteria is personality, aka will he/she work well with the existing team. Unless you hire someone to work solo on a project you dont need a weirdo or a lunatic that nobody in your team can work with - although I dont know how - all companies I worked for had at least one. Sort of like that guy who got pushed to the basement and he didn;t notice, in the movie "The Office".
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