Cultural Fit May Matter More Than Qualifications Or Skills

Qualifications and skills will usually get you the job interview, but recruiters want to see something else once you're actually in the interview. They want someone who will fit into the company's work environment, which means it's important to do your homework.

Image by Steven Bourelle (Shutterstock).

If you're wondering why so many companies ask questions like "What's your favourite movie" and "What's your dream job", it's not because they actually want to know — they're trying to figure out whether you'll be a good fit for the environment and the other people already on staff.

In most cases, interviewers are trying to figure out whether or not you're someone they would enjoy working with. According to a new survey by Glassdoor and a new study published in the American Sociological Review (PDF), those cultural factors can play a greater role than your skills or background.

Job applicants were also asked what they valued in a workplace. Cultural fit — or a work environment they enjoyed going to every day — was second on the list, just behind salary. So what do you do to make sure you're a good cultural fit? Research the company beforehand and connect with them on social media. Most companies freely discuss their corporate culture on their websites and on social networks.

At the same time, make sure you use the job interview as an opportunity to learn about the culture of the team: ask them some of those similar questions and have a genuine conversation in your interview. You'll stand a much better chance at getting the job.

Job Applicants' Cultural Fit Can Trump Qualifications [Businessweek]


    I suggest it's less about "what movie did you see" and more about "do I enjoy talking to this person". If you have reasonable communication skills, it will help you significantly - unless the role specifically requires a particular personality type.
    Speaking of personality types, I'm not taking the piss, but have you noticed that most HR people are cut from a particular cloth? They remind me of morticians - they seem to be soulless - even when you get to know them well... It's not just their need to be stand-offish, because managers have the same need - but many managers are likeable. HR are a strange breed indeed!

    we're having that problem right now with recruiting people. A lot of the candidates are great on paper, but as soon as you start talking with them, it all falls down. Most of these people I'd be happy to have working on a contract basis, to do a specific task, sit them in a dark corner somewhere and do work. But employing them full time, thinking about them working alongside others in the company, where they'd be in 2 or 3 years time, it doesn't work out.

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