Several studies have shown that the more alike candidates and their potential employers are, the more likely they are to land a job. How much cultural value should new employees share with a company?
“Employers are looking to hire people […] with whom they will feel good, that they will become friends with, and maybe more. This is why employers will not necessarily always hire the most qualified candidates,” says Lauren A. Rivera, sociologist and author of a study on the importance of cultural compatibility in recruitment.
Skills and attitudes
An employer cannot afford to hire workers who do not possess the required skills. Plain and simple. However, the high potential for close interpersonal relationships within the team is a necessary factor that must be considered.
“Professional recruiters have always paid attention to an individual’s compatibility with the rest of the team,” said Isabelle Bédard, President and CEO of IBC Organizational Development, an organization whose mission is to advise company managers and executives in the safe management of their teams.
According to Bédard, managers who contact her are often concerned about recruiting errors resulting from having hired a competent individual, but one that certainly has not developed the necessary social abilities to take part in the company’s culture.
Birds of a feather flock together?
When speaking on the values of an individual, reference is often made to the employee’s work mentality.
“It depends on the individual more than his cultural background or age,” points out Bédard.
“Compatibility between the values of the employee and those of the organization he joined must be considered,” warns the councillor before explaining that a lot of tension in the workplace results from the fact that not all employees share the same work values.
For recruiters, it all happens before the hiring: The questions asked during the interview will identify the candidate’s work ethics.
If the recruiter is the team leader
So he knows the complementarity needs within the team, both in terms of skills and values. He has every reason to consider these when recruiting a person.
“For example, if there are two negative leaders with strong personalities, we must be very careful not to recruit someone of the same kind,” states Bédard.
If the team is harmonious and mobilized, the recruiter’s mission is instead to hire someone who will fit in without destroying the existing balance. Not to forget the skills compatibility level.
If the recruiter is not the boss
“It is imperative that the HR counsellor ask the manager about the quality of the relationships and the kind of person that needs recruiting to avoid any unpleasant surprises,” says Bédard.
If skills and values go hand in hand, cultural compatibility is a major factor in the well being and cohesion of any team.