Are we recruiting ‘fairy-tale’ candidates?

Are we recruiting ‘fairy-tale’ candidates?

Employers hire to a set of qualifications and competencies, tailored to each role according to its function and the task at hand. Over the last few years, however, there has been an increased focus on a ‘third layer’ of assessment – Cultural Fit. It seems as though for many employers, cultural fit has almost become the primary factor assessed through interview processes.

This makes sense in an age in which it has probably never been easier to collect accurate employment references and check the veracity of candidates’ qualifications. Yet this does raise interesting questions about how hiring companies position their brands and cultures to candidates, and exactly how and against what candidates are assessed to ensure the best ‘fit’:

  • Are there any ways in which companies are failing to account for cultural fit in the recruitment process?
  • What defines a business’s culture in the first place; or are there in reality a lot of micro-cultures operating within any given business?
  • Are employers truly giving an accurate reflection of their own organisations’ cultures when hiring?

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall – are we the most Collaborative*Culture of all?

There is an inherent danger in how businesses regard their own cultures in isolation from their competitors and in how they attempt (or don’t attempt) to ‘live’ their brands. While there are some notable examples of complete mismatches between stated values and lived experience (Enron’s core values were Respect, Integrity, Communication and Excellence after all…), most mismatches are of a much more prosaic, ‘garden-variety’ sort.

Most employers will claim to be collaborative and creative / innovative in their talent attraction materials, but is this really the case? Most candidates will claim to be flexible team-players; is this really the case? Or are both parties labouring under false impressions of themselves and their ‘brands’, potentially sowing the seeds and preparing the ground for a mutually painful parting of ways?

Expectations from both employees and employers can come to be out of sync both before and during the recruitment process through an almost sub-conscious exercise in wishful thinking (“I want our culture to be collaborative, therefore it is”, “I want to enjoy fast-paced environments, therefore I do”) – often creating a substantial disconnect between what is and what is simply assumed or hoped for by either party. Escaping the abstract, is there a way of recruiting which can help minimise the chances of falling prey to wishful thinking?

*Or Creative, Commercial, Controlling…

Goldilocks and the Three Cultures… (Finding a fit that is ‘just right’)

Trace was founded four long years ago with the intention of helping our clients make the right appointments at a cultural level (alongside experience and competencies!) As part of this approach, we’ve worked to develop a tool (a Predictive Fit Profile) to objectively assess a suite of different areas which we believe make up a candidate’s cultural compatibility (Personality Type, Thinking Style, Organisational Preference and Motivations). We’ve also developed a version which turns the lens onto the hiring organisation, helping us form a snapshot of an employer’s culture as ‘described’ by its employees – who are, after all, best placed to make the judgement!

While it’s not an exact science, we feel that through using this approach we are able to help both candidates and clients navigate the murky fog of wishful thinking, and get as close as possible to finding matches based upon what is (or is approximately achievable), on a much more consistent basis.