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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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20796 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 11:28:26 PM
What's your favorite movie? What's your favorite website? What's the last book you read for fun? What makes you uncomfortable?

Tie: Judgment at Nuremberg, A Clockwork Orange

Fark, really

Reread of Republican Party Reptile

Dining in a group that is rude/woefully undertips the staff and being in a golf group that holds up play.

/get off my lawn
 
2013-01-06 11:29:33 PM
I wasn't going to comment on this... but I'm bored.

Last year, with a little over a year's worth of experience - I applied to work at the nastiest, grungiest bar in my town. I've wanted to be a bartender for a long time, and even though I am currently working as one, it's in more of a snobby lounge, less of a real bar. I like the seediness of a real bar.

The bar I applied at is full of rednecks and bikers, rough republicans mostly. I myself am a rough republican with libertarian tendencies.

My interview started out well - "If I hired you, what could you bring to my bar?" I was asked. My response was "Friendly, efficient service - and I like to clean while I work" (the bar needs to be cleaned badly it is really gross). He then asked "What experience do you have?" I respond with "I graduated from bartending school before my daughter was born, and I have a little over a year's worth of real life experience" (I know two other girls with NO bartending experience who he hired later on). We briefly discussed the hours I would be available and that went well, since I sell my soul to my job and will work whatever they tell me to. But then, out of left field he says "We are coming up on the anniversary of the World Trade Center, you know, 9/11 - Do you think they're going to come after us again?" I said "Of course not, first of all it's already been done, second of all we would be expecting it!" He nodded sagely told me he would make a decision in a couple days and call me back. I called to follow up, and he had hired a friend of mine's step brother. This dude he hired is a tweeker, liberal, and didn't last 3 weeks before walking out on the job.

I am STILL mad. Truth is, I make a hell of a lot more at the lounge I work in... (and he actually did me a favor not hiring me) but I would have been an AMAZING employee for that bar. Reliable, hard working, enthusiastic, and even mostly republican. I'm still trying to figure out where things went wrong.

I post this, because it was a totally unrelated question there at the end, and I've always suspected that's where things went wrong. That or he LIKES his bar filthy and disgusting and was afraid someone cleaning it would kill the "atmosphere"
 
2013-01-06 11:30:11 PM

AloysiusSnuffleupagus:
I have a job, asshole.


Hey, good for you! I guess it's not a job where you would be expected to know what the phrase "Between two equally qualified candidates..." means.
 
2013-01-06 11:31:03 PM
Went on a interview once that gave me a "scenario" to answer.

The scenario: "You're a line lead working on the line with someone who has a personal problem with you and has let you know that they don't like you. Eventually, the situation escalates and this co-worker is refusing to accept any direction from you. How do you resolve this situation?"

My response: "I would tell the co-worker to act like a professional and do what we were hired to do, this isn't high school and I don't care if they are not my friend. Then I would go to my superior to inform them why we're not getting work done."

Apparently, my answer was not the one they were looking for, I didn't get the job.
 
2013-01-06 11:31:11 PM

AloysiusSnuffleupagus: Some of us are grown ups and really tire of games. Both in relationships and at work.


I am stunned, absolutely stunned, that you have had difficulty in relationships.
 
2013-01-06 11:32:58 PM

zedster: The Stealth Hippopotamus: zedster: The Stealth Hippopotamus: What is that picture from?

lead singer of Drive By-Truckers

Oh. I'll have to look them up.


Thanks

Alt Country/Southern Rock Band

I suggest giving Southern Rock Opera a listen. It's a double disk concept album that tells the story of the South in the 50s-70s and Lynyrd Skynyrd. They have a lot of history in their songs for example they have a song about Sun records called Carl Perkin's Cadillac. The song is about the owner of Sun Records, Sam Philliups promising the first person to get a hit on his label would get a Caddie. Carl Perkin's had his one hit a month before Elvis and before Cash who was also on the label, thus winning the Caddie.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Rock_Opera


Sharing that tidbit at certain places might denote that you're not a "cultural fit".
 
2013-01-06 11:33:52 PM
Also --- surprised I have to post this. Would have thought someone else would have already.

Monty Python's Job Interview
 
2013-01-06 11:34:54 PM

MBA Whore: GilRuiz1
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?


Yes, very much THIS.

/ HR drone
// kill me . . .


So why then do companies outsource HR, IT, manufacturing, janitorial, etc?

They have almost zero say in who the outsourcing company hires to do the work?
 
2013-01-06 11:36:33 PM

Bucky Katt: itsfullofstars: Its so damn hard to fire people today that these questions help weed out the people who just wont fit in.

I take it that you live in one of the few states that aren't fire-at-will aka "right to work"


You're thinking of at will employment, not right to work. Right to work is where you don't have to pay union dues if you don't want to. At will employment is when the employer can fire you at any time for any reason, as long as it doesn't violate the various Civil Rights Acts. Pretty much everybody outside of a union or CBA has at will employment in the US.
 
KIA
2013-01-06 11:38:21 PM

Meow928: I post this, because it was a totally unrelated question there at the end, and I've always suspected that's where things went wrong.


I read that as: You wouldn't be able to chew the late-night fat with the conspiracy theorists who pay the bills there and you don't have a perky smile or anything else to keep their attention, so you got nothing he needs.
 
2013-01-06 11:40:30 PM

KIA: Meow928: I post this, because it was a totally unrelated question there at the end, and I've always suspected that's where things went wrong.

I read that as: You wouldn't be able to chew the late-night fat with the conspiracy theorists who pay the bills there and you don't have a perky smile or anything else to keep their attention, so you got nothing he needs.


And he, like you, would be wrong. I was trying to keep my conspiracy theory crazy under wraps to get a job. Who wants to hire some nutso who thinks it was an inside job?
 
KIA
2013-01-06 11:41:42 PM
Er... that may have come across as far harsher than I meant. Lemme 'splain. What I meant was, well, they're bikers. They have limited interests and perspectives on the world. If you can't talk the talk or if you come across as "better than them" or something other than a bimbo, you wouldn't be well received.
 
2013-01-06 11:41:49 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.


Aaaaand summed up. As an IT guy, I know precisely what you mean. The only people who make any money in IT anymore (as I see it) are either developers or the master-of-all-trades rockstars. Everyone is relegated to tech support in an indefinite contractor role.
 
2013-01-06 11:42:16 PM

Meow928: Also --- surprised I have to post this. Would have thought someone else would have already.

Monty Python's Job Interview


Or this one:

Chase/Pryor word association interview (NSFW)
 
2013-01-06 11:42:31 PM

Meow928: graduated from bartending school before my daughter was born, and I have a little over a year's worth of real life experience" (I know two other girls with NO bartending experience who he hired later on)...
That or he LIKES his bar filthy and disgusting and was afraid someone cleaning it would kill the "atmosphere"

Bingo. The last thing he wanted is some educated smartypants telling him how to run his bar.
With your education and experience, you'd be able to spot every health code violation...every time the till didn't add up...every time the 'top shelf pour' bottles mysteriously gained a few inches...
Hire know-nothings that he can fool into doing whatever he likes.
And your last question really was an ideological test-after all, if what you said was true then there'd be no need for the TSA, no need for 'security background checks', no need for, basically, all the things that today's Republicans like to spend money on so that they can be suspicious of the brown people.
 
2013-01-06 11:43:27 PM
I understand the importance of needing to get along with people. I agree that it should be a factor when hiring someone, but it shouldn't be the sole or most important factor. Being a nice guy that everyone likes does not make them a good employee.

For instance, I manage a small sub-team where I didn't get to choose my team. I have one guy on my team who is a super cool guy that everyone likes. He has a very outgoing charismatic personality. However, the guy is completely counterproductive and useless to me. He volunteers to do tasks he has no intention of completing. He makes suggestions that will never work in the context of our project or we don't have the resources to implement and then lobbies (in a very charming way) why we should do them despite being told repeatedly why they're unreasonable. He's flaky and unreliable and either doesn't show up to meetings or shows up late. That being said, I love the guy as a person. I would hang out with him all day and have a great time. However, I would never work with him again. I want to get rid of him, but everyone loves him as a person so my boss doesn't want to fire him. He just tells me to expect that he's not going to do anything and work around him. What's the point?

Of course I have another guy who is a total weirdo who is the contrary to every idea and just comes up with bizarre stuff that is 99% of the time the worst idea anyone could have ever thought of - he just has bad instincts period. He's also useless to me, but again I can't get rid of him either (although if I pushed hard enough I probably could since no one likes him). So I've seen both sides of the spectrum.

The second guy is the poster child for why these cultural fit questions are important and the first guy is the poster child of why they shouldn't be the most important criteria for hiring.
 
KIA
2013-01-06 11:43:31 PM
Ugh. Having now alienated the intellectual bikers, Ima gonna retire for the night.
 
2013-01-06 11:44:07 PM

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

A hundred times this.

...

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.

Which is why the people who were bullies in high school continue in that role in the corporate world.

Because "social skills" trump "knowledge" and "competence" every time.

Sad.



There's an old joke about two guys who are out in the woods when a bear appears and charges at them, one guy calmly unlaces his boots and throws on some running shoes while the other guy screams, " Are you crazy? You can't outrun a bear!"

The guy with the running shoes starts to run, and says, "I don't have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you."

So....

It's not that the candidates being interviewed have to have brilliant "social skills", it's just that they have to have more social skills than the clone of farking Sheldon from Big Bang Theory that was interviewed the day before.
 
2013-01-06 11:44:48 PM

Iron Felix: 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.


baby boomers cover 1946 - 1964 so yeah, there's your 10 - 15 years.

i love whining youngster job threads. the sooner you find out every generation gets screwed by the man the better off you are. if you weren't born to money or connections you most probably will never step in shiat. idiots that ask "so where's my incentive?" should ask themselves:

so do i like to eat daily? so should i walk 45 miles each way? so what about a roof over my head?

it takes a long time before employers are wiling to pay, if they ever are. they have a screw you set up for everyone of every age. businesses are horribly run all over and up and down the Fortune 500 list. it's always someone else that catches the breaks. quit whining and get to work, you'll get noticed.

BIG SAD REALITY: in way too many areas there are a crap load of good paying jobs held tightly by people who have no need to work. they have money or married well and are too selfish to be volunteers or too moronic to just go to school and better themselves, or stay home and enjoy hobbies. the employer is not far from where they work, they've developed a social clique in the workplace and they've convinced themselves they like it. farking dooshbags. when you've identified these arseholes where you work be sure to thank them for being selfish.
 
2013-01-06 11:47:29 PM
delaney55.files.wordpress.com

So I meet all the qualifications - when can I start?
 
2013-01-06 11:49:25 PM

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


I have to take exception to this. A pension is an IOU that assumes your employer will still be there in 50 or 60 years. A company can underfund a pension. A company can raid a pension. A company can declare bankruptcy and the pension fund is screwed as are all retirees depending on it.

A 401-K is owned and (at least partially) managed by the employee. A 401-K is a retirement savings account that is owned by you the employee personally. The only negative thing a company can do to your 401K is to stop making a matching contribution.

401-K > pension in all ways.
 
2013-01-06 11:51:30 PM

lousyskater: Glad my job interview was more technical questions that actually pertained to the position I was applying for and not bullshiat social ones. Feels good working a job where my ability to fix stuff is more important than what I did over the weekend.


This. My interview at IBM was being sat down at the lab with a machine and the two trainers and being told to make it work. Right there on the spot.

Out of the 20 or so people that applied, I was the only one that did it that quickly?

Wow.
 
2013-01-06 11:52:22 PM

strife: Lsherm: 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.

Seems legit. IIRC, they had a thing for threatening each other with nuclear warfare not too long ago.


This was years before either of them had nuclear weapons.  They haven't like each other for a long time.
 
2013-01-06 11:57:16 PM

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

I have to take exception to this. A pension is an IOU that assumes your employer will still be there in 50 or 60 years. A company can underfund a pension. A company can raid a pension. A company can declare bankruptcy and the pension fund is screwed as are all retirees depending on it.

A 401-K is owned and (at least partially) managed by the employee. A 401-K is a retirement savings account that is owned by you the employee personally. The only negative thing a company can do to your 401K is to stop making a matching contribution.

401-K > pension in all ways.


Because it's defined-benefit rather than defined-contribution, a pension is far superior to some crappy 401(k). Also, California now offers a state-run private sector pension. Years from now, other states will, too.
 
2013-01-06 11:57:18 PM
Hiring an employee without regards to how they will fit in the company's culture is like buying a piece of awesome furniture with no regards to how (or if) it will fit in your house.

Happy employees = productive employees. It is as simple as that. Having a work environment they actually enjoy being in with people they can get along with and work well with is the best way to have happy employees. Hiring someone who disrupts that environment is just bad business logic. No matter how talented and qualified they are, no one employee is worth dragging down the productivity of the rest of the team.
 
2013-01-06 11:57:51 PM
If you hate the interview, you'd probably hate working there, so consider yourself saved from a big mistake.
 
2013-01-07 12:00:36 AM

Atomic Spunk: AloysiusSnuffleupagus:
I have a job, asshole.

Hey, good for you! I guess it's not a job where you would be expected to know what the phrase "Between two equally qualified candidates..." means.


Gee, thanks. I'm glad you've decided for me what the most important part of the argument is.

Because we know that employers are always faced with that very tough binary decision:

"Which of these equally qualified applicants should I hire-- the one who is a social retard (apparently like me?), or the other who is the epitome of social graces (you, obviously)."

Thanks for directing my attention to this important deficiency in my rhetoric. I appreciate your input and look forward to future opportunities for you to educate me.
 
2013-01-07 12:02:57 AM

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

I have to take exception to this. A pension is an IOU that assumes your employer will still be there in 50 or 60 years. A company can underfund a pension. A company can raid a pension. A company can declare bankruptcy and the pension fund is screwed as are all retirees depending on it.

A 401-K is owned and (at least partially) managed by the employee. A 401-K is a retirement savings account that is owned by you the employee personally. The only negative thing a company can do to your 401K is to stop making a matching contribution.

401-K > pension in all ways.


The company picks the plan administrator and the "investments" you are allowed to invest your money in.
 
2013-01-07 12:05:43 AM
This topic is so abstract and subjective. I mean, I can't get the interview until I pass the HR gatekeeper, but, are the HR person's Cultural fit parameters anywhere near those of the actual people *I* would work with? I'm guessing usually: "no".

Now, my son did well on his last interview. His supervisor asked a few random questions, and the kid, who is 18, quoted appropriately in context from Musashi's Book of Five Rings. Since the supervisor was a martial arts nut in his spare time, this landed my kid the job. I can guarantee you in this town, my kid is the only one aged 18 to 28, to have read Musashi.

I haven't had to interview in years, but one time I did, the HR person asked me at the end of the interview what questions I had for her. I asked her what her evaluation of the company's corporate culture was. She just sighed, and didn't answer. What I was trying to get was a sense of if they were conservative or progressive. I didn't get the job, don't know of she thought my question impertinent, or if she knew the culture was asinine, and was sighing because she was trapped in it, and she saved me some grief by not hiring me.

I'm glad I'm nearing retirement age and might not ever have to go thru HR bullshiat again. I'm sure there are a few exceptions, but overall I have found HR people to be generally terrible. I can't say if they started out okay and the job makes them bad, or if they are already bad and attracted to that work. I have to work with an inordinate number of patronage hacks on a daily basis, and that might be coloring my opinions.
 
2013-01-07 12:08:37 AM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: First question in every interview I conduct: "so, Star Was or Star Trek?"

First it show me how the person reacts to a curve ball if the candidate is off guard and nervous that's bad if it gets them to relax that's good. If they get off guard by such a simple question than they'll never make it in shipping. The truckers will get you alive. Second it keeps all the damn Trekkers away from me.

The last girl I hired answered "Firefly". Best filing clerk we got.


subspacecomms.com
 
2013-01-07 12:08:51 AM

shoegaze99: 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.


THIS! I just made an offer to someone for these reasons. If the person is not a team player and not teachable....then there is no way I want them under me. I do not have time for unnecessary drama or intrigue.
 
2013-01-07 12:11:54 AM
I'm not sure why people are surprised by any of this. This isn't some pie-in-the-sky thing where the team is looking to discriminate or looking for a new drinking buddy. They're looking for somebody who is going to stick around. Replacing people is expensive and they don't want to waste their time hiring you and training you if you're going to be miserable, quit the job in six months and they'll be back at square one.

50 years ago they did that with a pension, which reward people for staying in one place. Since that doesn't exist anymore, they try to filter out people who they think will be miserable in their job.

Even if you have all the technical skills for the job, its not worth bringing you on if they know you'll be miserable and leave. So yeah, they try to get a gauge of whether you'll fit in and actually like your coworkers/job.
 
2013-01-07 12:12:10 AM

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

I have to take exception to this. A pension is an IOU that assumes your employer will still be there in 50 or 60 years. A company can underfund a pension. A company can raid a pension. A company can declare bankruptcy and the pension fund is screwed as are all retirees depending on it.

A 401-K is owned and (at least partially) managed by the employee. A 401-K is a retirement savings account that is owned by you the employee personally. The only negative thing a company can do to your 401K is to stop making a matching contribution.

401-K > pension in all ways.

The company picks the plan administrator and the "investments" you are allowed to invest your money in.


In what world is that worse than having the company choose the investments and control the money in such a way that you could lose it all? Yes, you have limited choices in a 401-K (i mentioned that) but I've never seen one that only had one choice. Most have dozens of options, in fact more options that a lot of people are prepared for. But if someone picks a fund for their 401-K investment and puts all their money in that fund it's their own choice.

And no, you don't get to invest in individual stocks in a 401-K because that's about the stupidest thing you could do. If you want to gamble in the stock market, do it with money that's not set aside for retirement.
 
2013-01-07 12:15:11 AM

brigid_fitch: how many inches in a yard


That would make me pause for a few seconds while I remembered how many inches were in a foot (12, so 36 inches in a yard), because I really, really do not use the imperial system very often.
 
2013-01-07 12:18:26 AM

coldf33t: shoegaze99: 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.

THIS! I just made an offer to someone for these reasons. If the person is not a team player and not teachable....then there is no way I want them under me. I do not have time for unnecessary drama or intrigue.


Ahh, so shoegaze99, in other words if someone is good at stroking your ego you'd much rather have them than someone who is actually capable but might be a threat to you? Hmm, sounds about right.
 
2013-01-07 12:18:34 AM
Also, as someone who has to do a lot of hiring, yes there is a reason behind bullshiat questions. Such as:

Seeing how well you think on your feet. Sure, they could just ask you if you think well on your feet, but as we have established already, a lot of people just say what they think the employer wants to hear. Random, unexpected questions catch people off-guard and test how well they really think under pressure. Actually test some of those skills they claim to be so good at.

Adaptability. Throwing out a question that has nothing to do with your skills or relevance to the job is a great way to see how well someone can adapt when the obvious path disappears. Give them a chance to work outside the checklist of basic on-the-nose "Can you code in Java" type questions. Can someone take a "pointless" question and use it to make themselves come off as even more relevant to the job?

Tolerance to Bullshiat questions. If your job has ANYTHING to do with customer service, you will have to deal with bullshiat questions all the time. If you show no tolerance for having to deal with small talk and irrelevant topics, you are effectively saying you are not qualified for the job.

Interviewers are actually a lot smarter than people give them credit for. Whenever someone throws a seemingly dumb question at you, take the time to realize that your actual answer to that question is probably not what they are looking for from your response.
 
2013-01-07 12:18:42 AM
coldf33t:  If the person is not a team player and not teachable

This is what I love and find ridiculous about these threads.  "Team player" and "teachable" are two different things, and they are both different from "cultural fit".

It's as if all of human behavior is a dichotomy between technical stuff and non-technical stuff, and there are no further divisions.  So if someone argues that "cultural fit" isn't important for a job, then a bunch of howler will be all like, "No, I never hire anyone unless they show me they can communicate well with their peers."  Yeah, I wasn't talking about communication skills, I was talking about cultural fit.

Poor cultural fit is a stupid reason not to hire someone talented.  Poor communication skills is a good reason not to, but heaven help someone trying to argue there's a difference.
 
2013-01-07 12:20:38 AM

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

Which is just code for "we don't want you for being a [protected class], but we can't say it".

---

CmndrFish: You're thinking of at will employment, not right to work. Right to work is where you don't have to pay union dues if you don't want to. At will employment is when the employer can fire you at any time for any reason, as long as it doesn't violate the various Civil Rights Acts. Pretty much everybody outside of a union or CBA has at will employment in the US.


While aside from the ALEC ramrods (Michigan, Indiana), RTW generally has encouraged/accompanied other laws that disempower workers. Now if RTW treated contract/temp/contingent workers the same as unions (read: you could choose to not be a contract worker and be a directly hired & FT one instead), RTW would be about freedom. Otherwise, it's a law that improperly defines worker freedom from the business's standpoint.


Mr. Eugenides: I have to take exception to this. A pension is an IOU that assumes your employer will still be there in 50 or 60 years. A company can underfund a pension. A company can raid a pension. A company can declare bankruptcy and the pension fund is screwed as are all retirees depending on it.

A 401-K is owned and (at least partially) managed by the employee. A 401-K is a retirement savings account that is owned by you the employee personally. The only negative thing a company can do to your 401K is to stop making a matching contribution.


Pension > 401k due to excessive market instability. Now if you want to really make it better, protect the pensions from scuttling/underfunding.
 
2013-01-07 12:24:40 AM

aerojockey: coldf33t:  If the person is not a team player and not teachable

This is what I love and find ridiculous about these threads.  "Team player" and "teachable" are two different things, and they are both different from "cultural fit".

It's as if all of human behavior is a dichotomy between technical stuff and non-technical stuff, and there are no further divisions.  So if someone argues that "cultural fit" isn't important for a job, then a bunch of howler will be all like, "No, I never hire anyone unless they show me they can communicate well with their peers."  Yeah, I wasn't talking about communication skills, I was talking about cultural fit.

Poor cultural fit is a stupid reason not to hire someone talented.  Poor communication skills is a good reason not to, but heaven help someone trying to argue there's a difference.


It'll be fun to see the defense attorney trying to quantify "cultural fit". "Yes, Mr. Smith is more qualified than the person we hired. But we chose not to hire Mr. Smith because all his heros are real people instead of action figures, and two of his favorite restaurants serve sushi. Nobody in accounting likes sushi."
 
2013-01-07 12:26:21 AM
People who support "cultural fit" are petty and the practice is, in reality, just a culture of cliques and ego driven. Nothing more.
 
2013-01-07 12:27:09 AM

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


It is possible to fit in to the workplace culture without likeing the same farking movies a nd TV shows. So why are they asking questions about this? The key issue is whether the applicant will be a good fit with the workplace culture. How does my favorite movie relate to that question at all?
 
2013-01-07 12:29:00 AM
Self employed here. I'm at a point where I don't want to play these games. My last job and the four job interviews I had before deciding to go self employed and quitting my last job proved to me that at the end of the day, HR is calling the shots in the company, unless it's a very small company and the HR department is one person no one likes. If there is a new trend that is popular with HR people, it's going to effect you eventually. Don't be surprised is the next step is cultural retro fitting the work place. "Yeah, we know you've been here for nine years with no complaints against you, but since you're the only male in your department and the only white guy in a department full of latina women, you're just not the perfect cultural fit we need here."

I did learn in my last job that there are HR magazines and national conventions. If enough companies start doing it, others will follow. Doesn't matter if it's a good idea or not. If I ran a company and I discovered my HR department was passing over the best people because they didn't think that they were a good fit for the company, then the hiring staff would be looking for new jobs while the new ones would be told "Pass over the best candidate because they aren't a good cultural fit and you'll be applying for unemployment."
 
2013-01-07 12:33:03 AM

aerojockey: Poor cultural fit is a stupid reason not to hire someone talented.  Poor communication skills is a good reason not to, but heaven help someone trying to argue there's a difference.


I can argue against that.

I work in a place with a very laid-back and playful environment. We have things like Nerf guns and employee's dogs hanging around the office. Everyone is down with this culture and as such, they all manage to be very productive despite what some might refer to as distractions around the office. Recently we were looking to higher another programmer. We came across someone who was very talented in his field and had a lot of the knowledge and skills we wanted. But he made it very clear during the interview that he cannot stand idle chatter/frivolous activity in the work place and prefers a much more "traditional" business environment. While there is certainly nothing wrong about that, but it would have been a horrible fit for the company. He would have been miserable and he would be making the rest of the team miserable. And productivity would have tanked, not to mention the level of customer service.

This is not "communication problems" or "teach-ability", this is simply cultural fit, and paying proper attention to it probably saved our company a lot of time and money .
 
2013-01-07 12:38:43 AM

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

I have to take exception to this. A pension is an IOU that assumes your employer will still be there in 50 or 60 years. A company can underfund a pension. A company can raid a pension. A company can declare bankruptcy and the pension fund is screwed as are all retirees depending on it.

A 401-K is owned and (at least partially) managed by the employee. A 401-K is a retirement savings account that is owned by you the employee personally. The only negative thing a company can do to your 401K is to stop making a matching contribution.

401-K > pension in all ways.

The company picks the plan administrator and the "investments" you are allowed to invest your money in.

In what world is that worse than having the company choose the investments and control the money in such a way that you could lose it all? Yes, you have limited choices in a 401-K (i mentioned that) but I've never seen one that only had one choice. Most have dozens of options, in fact more options that a lot of people are prepared for. But if someone picks a fund for their 401-K investment and puts all their money in that fund it's their own choice.

And no, you don't get to invest in individual stocks in a 401-K because that's about the stupidest thing you could do. If you want to gamble in the stock market, do it with money that's not set aside for retirement.


My last company allowed user directed investments, which was pretty nice.

My current company restricts investments to funds with the highest fees in the industry. I have no doubt that the company (or someone high up) gets a kick back from the fees.
 
2013-01-07 12:45:36 AM

aerojockey: coldf33t:  If the person is not a team player and not teachable

This is what I love and find ridiculous about these threads.  "Team player" and "teachable" are two different things, and they are both different from "cultural fit".

It's as if all of human behavior is a dichotomy between technical stuff and non-technical stuff, and there are no further divisions.  So if someone argues that "cultural fit" isn't important for a job, then a bunch of howler will be all like, "No, I never hire anyone unless they show me they can communicate well with their peers."  Yeah, I wasn't talking about communication skills, I was talking about cultural fit.

Poor cultural fit is a stupid reason not to hire someone talented.  Poor communication skills is a good reason not to, but heaven help someone trying to argue there's a difference.


Give me two candidates with the same technical skill set and I am going to hire the one that is the most fitting for my team. Granted, these are people that made it past HR ( I know nothing about that aspect of it except I gave a salary and experience range to the recruiter).
 
2013-01-07 12:46:07 AM

badhatharry: Sorry, you didn't get the job. Yes, you are qualified but you are a boring asshole.


OK, suppose I'm NOT an asshole ... but I AM boring, but I DO like paychecks and therefore I WILL show up on time and put in a full and honest day of work, week in and week out, for whichever employer I've chosen to offer those services to. NOW do I get the job?
 
2013-01-07 12:47:55 AM
I am convinced my employer likes me around not for my skills, but because I laugh easily and make some good one-liners.

No email funnies though. That's a no-no.
 
2013-01-07 12:52:47 AM

Cryokenetic: aerojockey: Poor cultural fit is a stupid reason not to hire someone talented.  Poor communication skills is a good reason not to, but heaven help someone trying to argue there's a difference.

I can argue against that.

I work in a place with a very laid-back and playful environment. We have things like Nerf guns and employee's dogs hanging around the office. Everyone is down with this culture and as such, they all manage to be very productive despite what some might refer to as distractions around the office. Recently we were looking to higher another programmer. We came across someone who was very talented in his field and had a lot of the knowledge and skills we wanted. But he made it very clear during the interview that he cannot stand idle chatter/frivolous activity in the work place and prefers a much more "traditional" business environment. While there is certainly nothing wrong about that, but it would have been a horrible fit for the company. He would have been miserable and he would be making the rest of the team miserable. And productivity would have tanked, not to mention the level of customer service.

This is not "communication problems" or "teach-ability", this is simply cultural fit, and paying proper attention to it probably saved our company a lot of time and money .


Now, see, this is a reasonable concern and one that I, if I were ever an employer, would look into. So this is probably a total 180 from what most of humankind does with it. :p
 
2013-01-07 12:53:18 AM
There's "fitting into the workplace culture", and then there's "hiring people to be your friends instead of to get the job done." About half the anecdotes in TFA fall on the wrong side of that line IMO.
 
2013-01-07 12:54:09 AM

FormlessOne: xsarien: BokerBill: What's your favorite movie? What's your favorite website? What's the last book you read for fun? What makes you uncomfortable?

- None of your business
- None of your business
- None of your business
- A rock in my shoe

/Not a good cultural fit with any company that thinks these are important questions to ask in a job interview.

Do you give douchy answers to those questions when they're asked in a casual setting? Because what's being measured here is your ability to have a normal conversation that doesn't involve "talking shop."

It's a little jarring and their purpose is pretty transparent these days, but they can also serve as a bit of an ice breaker in a normally tense situation, like, say, a job interview.

On the other hand, discovering the folks carrying the "YER NOT THE BOSS A' ME!" chip on their shoulders in four questions or less makes a job interview go that much faster.


A job interview is not a casual conversation: that's really the point here. This is not about "yer not the boss of me"; it's about what's appropriate and professional in the context of a job interview. If you really want to know what book I last read for fun - rather than for professional development - I might reasonably wonder if you ever hire anyone who isn't your personal friend.

On the other hand, on the job you are emphatically the boss of me. And it's still none of your business.
Like I said, if you think it's important what my favorite movie is - important enough to base a hiring decision on the answer, then it really doesn't matter whether we agree on favorite movies: I don't fit with your organization.
And I can decide that in four questions or less, too.
 
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