Qualifications vs Cultural Fit- Which Is More Important?
With businesses recruiting at the fastest rate in 2 years, recruiters will need to invest more time into finding the right person to fill open positions. Some companies see the recruitment process as black and white, where successful candidates must tick all of the boxes. Others can look past the facts and focus on the individual, their personality and what they can bring to the role. Which method is right?
Why Choose Candidates Based on Qualifications?
With a record one in four graduates in the UK being awarded top degrees, do academic qualifications still highlight the best candidate? Many job adverts still specify that a degree is needed for the role which suggests that it does still carry some weight.
Having a degree does show a certain level of dedication. Education gives you theoretical knowledge and analytical skills. This can be applied to any situation. It has been suggested that candidates with a degree could learn new processes and technologies quicker and more in-depth than those without a degree.
A lot of companies can get blinded by where a candidate was educated or studied but you need to look beyond that and see the bigger picture. Focus on what they learned from the experience and take into account any other activities they took part in during their time at university including in societies, sports and charities.
How to Recruit Based on Qualifications
You should be able to ascertain an applicant’s academic qualifications quite easily from their CV, application form or LinkedIn profile. Once you get to the interview stage, you could ask the following questions to delve deeper into their qualification for the role:
* How have your past qualifications translated into success in the field?
* Why are you the most qualified candidate?
* What educational experiences do you think most qualify you for this job?
Why Choose Candidates Based on Cultural Fit?
A candidate with a strong cultural fit is more likely to work well with other successful employees and stay on long-term. It is for this reason that Guv Jassal of Washington Frank argues that cultural fit should be the biggest factor in your recruitment decisions. “A lot of technical elements of a role can be taught on the job, but passion and pride in your work can’t be faked,” he said.
“A lot of companies can get blinded by where a candidate was educated or studied but you need to look beyond that and see the bigger picture,” warns Guv. You need to think about the culture of the company you are hiring for. Sarah Kauter of VerriBerri says their team is “very tight knit and spend a lot of time together socially so it is vital we employ someone who will fit in with the existing team and be interested in being friends as well as colleagues.”
If you bring someone into the team who is a poor cultural fit, the chances are they will be more likely to leave your company for another opportunity that is more aligned with their own values.
How to Recruit Based on Cultural Fit
It could be argued that the main purpose of the interview is to enable the hiring manager to assess the potential cultural fit of a job candidate. Some questions you can ask to assess cultural fit are:
* What drives you to succeed?
* What environment do you thrive in?
* What does your ideal work day look like?
* Tell me something I don’t already know about you.
* How would coworkers describe the role you play on a team?
So which one wins!?
From speaking with many recruiters and hiring managers, there seems to be a bit of a consensus that qualifications and experiences do help to get candidates through to the interview stage, but the highest amount of value is placed on cultural fit which comes across most strongly during the interview process.
The candidate does need to exhibit both the necessary qualifications to perform the job and the essential fit needed to work effectively within the existing organization. When faced with two candidates who have similar experience and qualifications, the person who will fit in with the existing team will have the edge.
Author: Jade Gillham is a writer for Washington Frank International