Get access to the exclusive HR Resources you need to succeed in 2018.
Sign up for free email newsletters and get more SHRM content delivered to your inbox.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 14 cities across the U.S. this fall.
Gain the skills you need to rise to the next level in your career. Jon us at SHRM's Leadership Development Forum, October 2-3 in Boston.
Cultural matching influences hiring; bad hires can be costly.
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
Hiring managers and HR professionals at some elite professional services companies are often more focused on hiring people who share the same hobbies or personalities as them than on hiring people who would do the best work, according to a researcher at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.
"Employers really want someone they can bond with, who they will feel good around," says Lauren A. Rivera, an assistant professor of management and organizations and sociology at Northwestern University. "As a result, employers don't necessarily hire the most skilled candidates."
Rivera conducted 120 interviews with professionals involved in undergraduate and graduate hiring in elite U.S. investment banks, law firms and management consulting firms in what she says is the first empirical investigation of whether shared culture between employers and candidates matters in hiring.
More than half of the evaluators in the study ranked cultural fit—the perceived similarities between the applicant and current employees—as the most important criterion at the job interview stage. They ranked it above analytical thinking and communication.
Applicants were screened for baseline skills before being brought in for interviews. At that stage, however, the evaluators chose to focus on what they personally had in common with the applicants, such as lacrosse, rock climbing or playing the cello.
In most cases, cultural fit was formally included in recruitment policies with the aim of increasing retention—even while the companies spent significant resources to increase the diversity of applicant pools, Rivera found.
While basing hiring decisions on cultural similarities could help create a cohesive team, it could also exclude applicants from other socioeconomic classes, Rivera concludes. For example, less-affluent students are more likely to believe that achievement in the classroom matters more than sports and hobbiesand focus their energies accordingly, she says.
The study, "Hiring as Cultural Matching: The Case of Elite Professional Service Firms," was published in the December 2012 issue of
American Sociological Review.
More than 40 percent of U.S. employers estimated that a bad hiring decision had cost their companies more than $25,000 last year, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey.
One-quarter of the respondents estimated the cost to be more than $50,000.
In total, 69 percent of the 2,494 hiring managers and HR professionals responding to the survey said their companies were negatively affected by a bad hire in 2012.
The costs of a bad hire show up in various ways, including less productivity, cost to train a new worker and lowered employee morale.
Not surprisingly, bad hires display behavioral and performance-related issues. The quality of their work is poor, they don't get along with co-workers, they display negative attitudes, and they frequently don't show up for work, the survey respondents reported.
So what's behind all these bad hires? In many cases, it's pressure to fill jobs quickly, a factor cited by 43 percent of the respondents. Twenty-two percent said they didn't know enough about the employees before hiring them, and 9 percent said they didn't check references. Still, one in four respondents weren't sure why their hiring choices turned out badly.
The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder in August and September 2012.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies