Execs value Cultural Fit over Experience

But they are far more likely to assess for leadership potential than cultural fit

By Roy Maurer May 13, 2015

Fitting into the organization’s culture is the top attribute executives look for when hiring recent college graduates (cited by 42 percent of respondents), followed by drive (37 percent) and previous experience (14 percent), according to the results of a new survey. Five percent cited grade point average as the top attribute, with the university the student attended chosen by 2 percent.

But only 13 percent of respondents said they assess college recruits for cultural fit. Most respondents (54 percent) assess these candidates for leadership potential, followed by cognitive ability (31 percent).

The survey was conducted by Futurestep, a Korn Ferry company. Futurestep analyzed 800 responses given between March and April 2015.

More than half of respondents (54 percent) said their college recruiting efforts are designed to develop the next generation of leaders. “Supporting the company’s immediate operational needs” and “building the business/corporate capabilities” followed at 12 percent each. Eighteen percent of respondents do not have a college hiring program in place, and 4 percent said their efforts are designed to build on technical capabilities.

“Clearly, today’s executives have an eye toward tomorrow when hiring college recruits,” said Nikki Kay, Futurestep general manager and vice president of client services for RPO North America. “That’s why we recommend taking the time to truly assess whether the candidate not only has the right skills but is a good fit, no matter the job level.”

Respondents ranked partnerships with college career centers (36 percent) and on-campus job fairs (35 percent) as the most effective ways to recruit college candidates. Nineteen percent chose social media, and 5 percent each said job boards and online talent communities were the most effective recruiting methods.

The top choice for interviewing is still the old-fashioned face-to-face meeting (cited by 57 percent of respondents), followed by video interviewing (28 percent), phone (13 percent) and e-mail (2 percent).

“I expect the use of video interviewing to increase as companies continue to learn how this technology enhances the hiring process,” Kay said. “Effective recruiters meet graduates where they are, and today that means video, social and digital, in addition to traditional methods.”

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy


Job Finder

Find an HR Job Near You
Post a Job


Find the Right Vendor for Your HR Needs

SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies

Search & Connect