Do You Fit the Organizational Culture?
Well, it has been too long, my friends! My apologies. The past couple of months have been very hectic, as I acquired a new job, finished my previous one, and the Christmas season quickly caught me up in family gatherings! A fellow blogger, Grif Jones, asked me on Twitter “No more pinstripe?” There will always be #PinstripePumps!
As I started my new job, I ran across an article on the importance of organizational culture. Business Week published an article by Logan Hill – Job Applicants’ Cultural Fit Can Trump Qualifications. As the cultural “fit” of an organization becomes more important, job interviews are becoming more like first dates. Interviewers are “feeling” the interviewee out, assessing if they have similar interests and humour as their employees do.
Hiring Decisions: Do I Like You?
Hill explains that in the “December issue of the American Sociological Review, Northwestern professor Lauren Rivera concludes that companies are making hiring decisions ‘in a manner more closely resembling the choice of friends or romantic partners’.” Like most things in life, you can have all the intelligence in the world, but if you lack basic communication skills, your job choices will be greatly diminished. Your ability to make time for business and pleasure help to mould you into a person whom employers would love to hire; you bring a unique set of skills and experiences learned on and off the work field.
B-Students are Entrepreneurs, A-Students are Managers
The most successful people in the world were not necessarily at the top of their class academically, in fact, they were most likely C to B-students, because they focused both the social and academic sides of schooling.
Bo Peabody explained in his book, LUCKY OR SMART: Secrets For An Entrepreneurial Life that A-students are managers, while B-students are the entrepreneurs. A-students are perfectionists and know a lot about one subject. They are more linear thinkers, and therefore have the patience and fortitude to see a task to its perfect completion. B-students on the other hand, “don’t know everything about anything and are excellent at nothing. B-students do, however, know something about a lot of things, and they can complete almost any task with some modicum of competence”.
Align Your Hiring Decisions with Your Organizational Culture
What are the implications for hiring someone that aligns with your organizational culture? First assess if you want an entrepreneur, or a meticulous manager. In many organizations, both are valued members of the team, with vastly different roles. Identifying what attributes you are looking for, and how they align with your organizational culture, will help you hire the most effective person for the position.
As a final thought on “cultural fit”, Charles Crawley, explains:
“As a recruiter of senior executives over many years we were interested in the humour of individuals. If they were amused at similar things as their colleagues this was a good sign. Their listening ability was absolutely essential; their ability to address problems and not people was also a necessity. Finally, we tested their skills in office and business politics. These areas are considered negative and the New American Way is to ignore challenges which are considered nasty in the name of ‘being positive’. We did not fall into this trap. Business politics is a reality; being skilled ensures teams are protected, abusers are neutralised, better information flow results in better decisions benefiting careers and the corporation. Perhaps, the most damaging single aspect of The New American way is self-imposed censorship in the name of being ‘positive’ and up beat. Organisation and business politics are absolute realities, yet Americans are forbidden to discuss or, often, even admit that they exist.”
An important part of attaining a productive and cohesive culture is the ability to admit to problems and offer solutions. Groups fall into trouble when they fail to address issues within the organization. No one likes a purple elephant in the room, despite that, many organizations opt to carry on in their dysfunction, instead of making changes that at first be uncomfortable, but will ultimately birth success.
A successful organization identifies what is important to their organizational culture, what characteristics are crucial for the role they are hiring for, and are not afraid to admit problems and strive to fix them.
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When you are looking for a job, what organizational culture are you looking for? Do you work better in an unstructured environment, or one with a more structured view of the workplace?
by Brienne Torley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License.