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(BusinessWeek)   Old: "You suck at irrelevant interview questions and I don't like you." New: "You're just not a cultural fit for us"   (businessweek.com) divider line 379
    More: Asinine, interview question, American Sociological Review, Ernst & Young, job hunting, melting pot, marketing executives, Starship Enterprise, NWS  
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20794 clicks; posted to Main » on 06 Jan 2013 at 9:23 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-06 08:23:55 PM
Is that how they're describing nepotism now?
 
2013-01-06 08:44:19 PM
FTFA:""These trends are being driven by millennials because they care about culture," says Dan Schawbel, author of Me: 2.0. "Research shows that millennials typically stay at a job for about two years-and they have different priorities. They'd rather have meaningful work over more pay, or work for a company that gives back or cares about the environment. They want a culture that's less hierarchical, more flexible, and more understanding of difference, because millennials are the most diverse generation."

NO NO NO NO NO NO

WWII Gen: Hey I'll get a job and work at it for 20+ yrs, return you'll give me benefits like a pension
Business: Okay

Baby Boomers: I'd like what my parents had
Business: nope you'll have a 401K that we will raid and no job security

Millennials: If I'm not going to be making great money and have no job security I'd rather work someplace I like and move on when I burn out
Business: Why do you have no loyalty? come back?

If I had the choice between culture or a place that actually took care of it's employees without screwing them over I would take the security. Having fallen into IT I have to say the contractor system is not going to inspire me to do anything less then the bare minimum, what incentive do I have? I have no profit share, no chance of getting hired on (always a false carrot they dangle), and very little security. At best Millennials are just waiting for the huge delayed wave of Baby Boomer to retire and open up the job market for them, at worst you are looking at generation that will have far less opportunity and quality of life then their parents.
 
2013-01-06 08:57:44 PM
When I was in college I was a manager for the engineering school's "tech crew" - students who fixed computers on campus.  They were cushy jobs, and there were 10 slots to hire for every year.  The first year I got to hire students I was informed by another employee that it was a "Pakistani year."  Turns out for years the Indian students and the Pakistani students had been swapping out the tech crew jobs because they refused to work with one another.  So on an Indian year, only Indian students would apply, and on a Pakistani year, only Pakistani students would apply.

I asked the employee what would happen if I hired a white or black employee, and he assured me that wouldn't happen.  I asked him why.  "Because I throw those resumes out," he said.
 
2013-01-06 09:25:30 PM

edmo: Is that how they're describing nepotism now?


No, it's more Affirmative Action-y. Just not necessarily the racist kind.
 
2013-01-06 09:30:24 PM
Millenial here. I work for a company that operates almost exclusively on that premise. They'll be happy to hire you, but if three months later they decide you're not a "good culture fit," you abruptly get fired. Your first year working there is pretty stressful never knowing if you'll get fired for some arbitrary reason...but if you can make it past the one year mark, you'll most likely make it.

I didn't particularly have that attitude about jobs. It's hard enough to find one these days, why make it harder by trying to find somewhere that's warm and fuzzy?
 
2013-01-06 09:32:03 PM
I"m not going to get a job. That's it. I'm just going to do something that people will pay me for and screw working for people who want me to "culturally fit in" with them.

Your loss not mine.
 
2013-01-06 09:33:12 PM

zedster: FTFA:""These trends are being driven by millennials because they care about culture," says Dan Schawbel, author of Me: 2.0. "Research shows that millennials typically stay at a job for about two years-and they have different priorities. They'd rather have meaningful work over more pay, or work for a company that gives back or cares about the environment. They want a culture that's less hierarchical, more flexible, and more understanding of difference, because millennials are the most diverse generation."

NO NO NO NO NO NO

WWII Gen: Hey I'll get a job and work at it for 20+ yrs, return you'll give me benefits like a pension
Business: Okay

Baby Boomers: I'd like what my parents had
Business: nope you'll have a 401K that we will raid and no job security

Millennials: If I'm not going to be making great money and have no job security I'd rather work someplace I like and move on when I burn out
Business: Why do you have no loyalty? come back?

If I had the choice between culture or a place that actually took care of it's employees without screwing them over I would take the security. Having fallen into IT I have to say the contractor system is not going to inspire me to do anything less then the bare minimum, what incentive do I have? I have no profit share, no chance of getting hired on (always a false carrot they dangle), and very little security. At best Millennials are just waiting for the huge delayed wave of Baby Boomer to retire and open up the job market for them, at worst you are looking at generation that will have far less opportunity and quality of life then their parents.


perfectly put.

we're done here folks
 
2013-01-06 09:35:18 PM
fta As a result, Rivera argues, "employers don't necessarily hire the most skilled candidates."

Filling your office with less competent clones is sure to please your competition
 
2013-01-06 09:36:18 PM

zedster: FTFA:""These trends are being driven by millennials because they care about culture," says Dan Schawbel, author of Me: 2.0. "Research shows that millennials typically stay at a job for about two years-and they have different priorities. They'd rather have meaningful work over more pay, or work for a company that gives back or cares about the environment. They want a culture that's less hierarchical, more flexible, and more understanding of difference, because millennials are the most diverse generation."

NO NO NO NO NO NO

WWII Gen: Hey I'll get a job and work at it for 20+ yrs, return you'll give me benefits like a pension
Business: Okay

Baby Boomers: I'd like what my parents had
Business: nope you'll have a 401K that we will raid and no job security

Millennials: If I'm not going to be making great money and have no job security I'd rather work someplace I like and move on when I burn out
Business: Why do you have no loyalty? come back?

If I had the choice between culture or a place that actually took care of it's employees without screwing them over I would take the security. Having fallen into IT I have to say the contractor system is not going to inspire me to do anything less then the bare minimum, what incentive do I have? I have no profit share, no chance of getting hired on (always a false carrot they dangle), and very little security. At best Millennials are just waiting for the huge delayed wave of Baby Boomer to retire and open up the job market for them, at worst you are looking at generation that will have far less opportunity and quality of life then their parents.


I was lucky to fall into a job where the owners are very loyal to their employees, give us a lot of freedom to be creative and it is perhaps the best IT job I ever had. Sure it a little less pay than my last job, but it gives me a stable work place, 10 minutes away from home and I get great benefits and not crushed by depression. Sure I eventually get offered better pay somewhere else, especially when I finished working on the current programming projects but that is 2-3 years away at least. There not many places like that any more unfortunately.
 
2013-01-06 09:37:37 PM
Someone in HR once told me that the purpose of all the candidate screening was intended to discover two things:

1) can this person do the job?

2) do we like this person enough to spend 8 hours a day, every day, for years in the same room with them?
 
2013-01-06 09:37:37 PM
God Dammit, I hate the Beatles.
 
2013-01-06 09:39:20 PM
I work in a hellish place for a crappy boss in an adrift organization. But I don't complain cause it pays enough hush money.
 
2013-01-06 09:39:40 PM
In 10-15 years when the boomers are out of the workforce, applicants will be asking questions to the dic.face HR people who are rejecting them today.
 
2013-01-06 09:41:05 PM
loyalty is dead don't give employers 2 weeks notice, they won't give you 2 hours
 
2013-01-06 09:42:22 PM
Apparently I'm dating wrong.

*The More You Know*
 
2013-01-06 09:42:42 PM
I work at a software firm, and we have several stages of interview, first a technical-interview and then a team-fit interview. It's a bit like finding a girlfriend: first you figure out whether she can cook, then you see if you can get along.
 
2013-01-06 09:42:44 PM
turtlebella.files.wordpress.com
 
2013-01-06 09:44:12 PM

megarian: Apparently I'm dating wrong.

*The More You Know*


1.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-01-06 09:45:34 PM
I don't culturally fit in with anyone, that's why I'm self employed. Don't bother applying because you won't culturally fit in with me.
 
2013-01-06 09:45:47 PM
If you're lucky enough to work for a company where everyone gets along and has a good time together, that's worth a lot. When office drama is minimal, it just makes everyone's lives easier and more pleasant. It doesn't mean you hire someone who is under-qualified just because you like them, but you certainly don't want to hire or retain someone that his ruining the atmosphere for everyone. I spend 45 hours a week in the office with these people. You're damned right I want people to fit into the company culture. Not that I'm the one in charge of these things, but we do get asked about whether the newbies are fitting in before their probationary period is over.
 
2013-01-06 09:46:43 PM
A resource is something that exists to be exploited.

When personnel became human resources is when it all went to hell.
 
2013-01-06 09:47:21 PM
New: "You're just not a cultural fit for us"

Translation: you're older than me and have more experience, so you're a threat.
 
2013-01-06 09:47:47 PM
What's asinine about it? Fitting into a workplace is just as important as skills.
 
2013-01-06 09:48:34 PM

limeyfellow: I was lucky to fall into a job where the owners are very loyal to their employees, give us a lot of freedom to be creative and it is perhaps the best IT job I ever had. Sure it a little less pay than my last job, but it gives me a stable work place, 10 minutes away from home and I get great benefits and not crushed by depression. Sure I eventually get offered better pay somewhere else, especially when I finished working on the current programming projects but that is 2-3 years away at least. There not many places like that any more unfortunately.


I found a place like that, sadly they got sued out of existence. I buried my grandpa on a Sunday and got laid off on that Friday due to the place going into bankruptcy. Damn 2012 was a crappy year for me
 
2013-01-06 09:48:51 PM

falcon176: loyalty is dead don't give employers 2 weeks notice, they won't give you 2 hours


My department has a little over 200 employees. Half of the staff have been there 2 years or less. There's no reason to worry about "cultural fit" if the defining cultural characteristic is turnover.
 
2013-01-06 09:51:57 PM
"Cultural Fit" is merely a way to disqualify an otherwise qualified candidate without having to disqualify them for one of those illegal reasons.
 
2013-01-06 09:53:06 PM

whatshisname: What's asinine about it? Fitting into a workplace is just as important as skills.


There's a difference between being inoffensive and being everyone's friend. If we can work together, fine. You don't have to be a "cultural fit." You must not smell like spoiled goat cheese, however.
 
2013-01-06 09:53:56 PM
I have, in the past, just refused to answer bullshiat questions. I am polite, but I explain that I don't really understand how that pertains to me performing my job tasks, and if I ever came in to work with a DVD player to screen my favorite movie, or expected to just knock off for a month to go to the south of France in the summer, I wouldn't be working there anyway.

I've actually gotten jobs after that.

Of course, where I live there is a hideous worker shortage and you can show up to an interview with poo in your pants and be fine. So I dunno.

But seriously, I do NOT socialize with my coworkers. I do not talk to my coworkers. I do not share personal or private information with my coworkers. It's none of their damn business and I will not play games or jockey for position. This is, incidentally, why I will never be in charge of anything, but fark it. I don't like the admission price.
 
2013-01-06 09:56:02 PM
No wonder I ended up getting a civil service job. None of the crap mentioned in the article, and I get decent pay, benefits, and retirement.
 
2013-01-06 09:58:27 PM
So working is about more than prior work experience.

And this is new.

OK then.
 
2013-01-06 09:58:41 PM

phrawgh: [turtlebella.files.wordpress.com image 348x450]


Mr Interviewer asks : "So, where are you more likely to be found on any given weekend? On the golf course, or enjoying a cold one at a family barbecue in a city park but no one bothered to get permission for use of the shelter or to serve beer?"
 
2013-01-06 09:59:07 PM

zedster: Business: Why do you have no loyalty? come back?That's OK, we'll get the government to import a bunch of third world indentured servants to work for half what we'd pay you otherwise.

 
2013-01-06 09:59:22 PM
If I had a nickel for every time I got to the final stage of an interview process and heard the "not a cultural fit" line....

/eventually learned to stop saying "start my own software company" when asked about my long term goals.
//telling people what they want to hear really is a good idea during job interviews.
 
2013-01-06 10:02:04 PM

falcon176: loyalty is dead don't give employers 2 weeks notice, they won't give you 2 hours


Let me guess, you've gotten the "Here's a box, clean out your desk, your computer access has already been locked, this security guard will make sure you don't take company property with you" treatment at least once.

*checks profile*

Why I can't imagine why somebody would do such a thing to a person with SUCH a charming personality.
 
2013-01-06 10:02:36 PM
Asinine tag is asinine. When I've been in charge of hiring, you'd better believe that "cultural fit" (I didn't use stupid terms like that) was just as important as skill set. I'd take someone with slightly less skills but who would be a great fit for our team and my management style than someone with great skills who wouldn't be right for our workplace. If a person fits well with the rest of the staff and is someone you feel good about working with/managing, that a huge plus over someone who will be an outcast on your staff or who you'll hate working with. You can teach them, they'll have the support of their colleagues, the whole team will function better as a team, the new employee will be happier (and thus more productive and receptive to learning), and so on.

So yeah, your skills aren't the only thing that matters. This is nothing new. And it just makes sense.
 
2013-01-06 10:02:43 PM
The moment an interviewer starts asking me about hobbies, vacations, and movie/musical preferences instead of why I'm qualified to do the job, I know the job is bullshiat.
Interviews go both ways, HR goons.
 
2013-01-06 10:02:46 PM
I've conducted plenty of job interviews in my time, and cultural fit has always been a consideration when I'm considering whether to recommend a hire.

However, most of the questions cited in that article are borderline, if not outright, illegal. Asking an interviewee questions that have nothing to do with their ability to perform the job in question is asking for trouble.

Finding a cultural fit is more about picking up on aspects of the interviewee's personality. How you believe they will fit in with the rest of the company, it's people, and it's procedures. How well they will pick up on things and be able to contribure. Asking where they go on vacation is just stupid.
 
2013-01-06 10:03:40 PM
what makes you uncomfortable?

People asking me stupid questions
 
2013-01-06 10:05:06 PM
I once got asked 'what was the last movie I saw'.
 
2013-01-06 10:05:50 PM
I work in an "at will" employment state. "Cultural fit" is rampant here, but it's not considered as important as your skill set. However, it is a deciding factor when it comes to multiple candidates - and given that I work in the competitive industry that is software development in Washington, "cultural fit" is important.

"Bleeding edge" implies that you're current - and not just on your skills, but on your audience, your customer, your mindset, your...everything, really. So, cultural relevance can be important, because it implies self-motivation - information is a pull, not a push, for you. You'll seek out the new, not wait until it's thrust at you, and you'll deal with it as you encounter it, not as it encounters you. This is even more important if you're in a decision-making position. Can't be bothered to stay current or seek out new information? Well, you're not going to make decisions that will place a company ahead of its competitors. You're not going to design games that will approach not just this generation, but the next generation, of gamers. You're not going to have that "deep dive" detail needed to stay on top of trends in your particular niche industry. You're not going to be "bleeding edge."

Just how does an employer find that out, though? The set of barely-tangibles for that characteristic are very specific to not just an industry, but to a company and even a team. Often, those barely-tangibles are determined by having a lead or manager observe a team not just during working hours, but by ensuring personal connections with them and observing what they do for recreation, hobbies, and other tangential activities. People with similar skill sets can be wildly divergent in terms of success or failure, and so the "little things" tend to matter more when deciding which one gets the job.

So, yeah, "cultural fit" can be misused to screen out candidates using criteria typically considered unethical or lillegal, but it also can be used to ensure you've the right people for the job. Far too many "paper tigers" in the software development industry - folks that look great on paper, but are near-useless in person - coupled with coaching on how to ace a technical interview make "cultural fit" a useful criterion.
 
2013-01-06 10:06:17 PM
I'm always curious; what metrics do HR personnel use to justify their processes and techniques? Do they have actual evidence that their system of irrelevant and arbitrary qualifiers results in better hires than, say, letting some random person in the office pick somebody?
 
2013-01-06 10:06:20 PM

GilRuiz1: Someone in HR once told me that the purpose of all the candidate screening was intended to discover two things:

1) can this person do the job?

2) do we like this person enough to spend 8 hours a day, every day, for years in the same room with them?


Exactly.

And yes, BOTH things are important. No one is suggesting hiring an incompetent just because you like them, but all things being equal you pick someone who gets a "yes" on question #2, and if all things are not equal, but they're at least close, you still go with the "yes" on #2.

Obviously that changes if the person just isn't suited for the job. That should go without saying.
 
2013-01-06 10:06:59 PM

ModernLuddite: I have, in the past, just refused to answer bullshiat questions. I am polite, but I explain that I don't really understand how that pertains to me performing my job tasks, and if I ever came in to work with a DVD player to screen my favorite movie, or expected to just knock off for a month to go to the south of France in the summer, I wouldn't be working there anyway.

I've actually gotten jobs after that.

Of course, where I live there is a hideous worker shortage and you can show up to an interview with poo in your pants and be fine. So I dunno.

But seriously, I do NOT socialize with my coworkers. I do not talk to my coworkers. I do not share personal or private information with my coworkers. It's none of their damn business and I will not play games or jockey for position. This is, incidentally, why I will never be in charge of anything, but fark it. I don't like the admission price.


Amen.
 
2013-01-06 10:07:12 PM
An ex girlfriend was helping her boss interview candidates for a position. After the boss left the room, the candidate says "wow I hope I don't have to work for her, that woman is a biatch!"

Needless to say, she didn't get the job.

//she did file and EEO complaint claiming racism though.
 
2013-01-06 10:07:30 PM
savingslifestyle.com
www.somethingimpressive.com
 
2013-01-06 10:08:07 PM

Omnivorous: New: "You're just not a cultural fit for us"

Translation: you're older than me and have more experience, so you're a threat.


Or you're younger than me and have no experience, so you're a threat.
/you know, rookie farks up, everybody else has to fix it...well, depending on the magnitude of the farkup and whether the interviewer is held responsible for the misadventures of the people he hires...
 
2013-01-06 10:09:46 PM

whatshisname: What's asinine about it? Fitting into a workplace is just as important as skills.


A hundred times this.

The company I work for has a fantastic organizational culture, in part because we hire people who mesh well together. Collaboration in small teams is critical for the work we do (research/analysis), so having someone who doesn't fit with the culture is a potential buzzkill to the quality of our outputs.

I often get called on to conduct peer interviews of potential recruits, and you're damn right I'm looking to make sure the individual fits well with the org culture. By the time people get the peer interview stage, we know they have the skills to do the job. The question is: will we like spending time for over 40 hours a week with this person? Between two equally qualified candidates, I'm going to pick the outgoing, energetic individual who has similar interests to the rest of the team - they're going to jive better in the department then someone who is equally qualified but has no interest in contributing to the org culture.
 
2013-01-06 10:11:34 PM

texdent: I once got asked 'what was the last movie I saw'.


Most of the time the answers aren't important, it's your ability to answer a question you haven't thought about in advance and how you answer it. They don't give a shiat if you last watched 40 Year Old Virgin, they just want to see how well you react, your personality, etc. The actual answer doesn't matter. The manner in which you answer does.
 
2013-01-06 10:12:38 PM
"what would you say your biggest weakness is?"

"tolerating bullshiat interviews."
 
2013-01-06 10:13:31 PM
Sorry, you didn't get the job. Yes, you are qualified but you are a boring asshole.
 
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