Top recruitment firms have reported that there is now a higher emphasis placed on the importance of ‘culture fit’ when candidates are considered for a job.
This higher regard for making the right cultural match between worker and employer is reportedly held by both parties. Employers are increasingly keen to present their staff with a working environment that encourages them to fit in, bed in and stay in – making them a good long-term investment. Job applicants are also more concerned about working somewhere that presents them with a solid and stable position they can both enjoy and rely on.
This need to make a good cultural fit for both sides has led to some interesting developments in interview processes. Increasingly, recruitment firms have been receiving reports of talented prospective job candidates refusing job offers from prominent companies with competitive salaries, simply because they didn’t feel that the company’s culture was right for them. Similarly, applicants with all the right technical abilities and previous experience are being turned away because the employer felt that they wouldn’t gel with their particular ethos.
Many examples of covering letters demonstrate how applicants will now personalise their CV to emphasise how appealing they find the culture of their prospective employer.
Of course, employers from certain employment sectors – such as accountancy and finance – are experiencing greater competition amongst its job applicants, meaning that they can afford to be choosier when it comes to picking a potential employee. The prospect of quick integration into the company’s culture can often be a make-or-break element of job interviews.
While a demonstrating a good cultural fit can be essential in furthering the chances of a successful interview, it’s still just as important to be technically qualified for the job in question. Companies may be willing to teach ancillary skills to a candidate who shows promise, but relevant qualifications and experience are still a powerful lure to employers. Formal training in everything from advanced IT skills to Kaplan accountancy apprenticeships (providing qualifications up to and including AAT level 4) can be vital in helping candidates stand out in particularly competitive employment sectors.
Nick Deligiannis, director of Hays, said: "Employers are also considering not only a candidate's technical skills but their cultural and team fit. We have seen many cases where an employer will train a candidate in the necessary technical skills if they are otherwise the right cultural fit for the business. There is a belief that technical skills can be taught, but cultural fit cannot. It is vital for employers to get cultural fit right to ensure business continuity and productivity.”
The higher priority given to culture fit suggests that many employers are now willing to make more of an investment in their staff and will do more to try and retain them. Along with providing a competitive salary – obviously still a key consideration – they are willing to spend longer to find the right candidate who will fit in culturally with the company’s policy on work/life balance, team activities and other aspects of general working life.