Hiring 716 Influencer Insight: What does it mean to be a good fit in a company's culture?

Posted at 11:14 AM, Jun 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-29 11:22:17-04

As part of our Hiring 716 coverage, we asked business influencers throughout Western New York for their thoughts about job trends in the community. This article, looking at key steps to take to help you get hired, was written by SelectOne CEO Kevin Kerl


About the Author

Kevin is CEO of SelectOne, a professional and leadership recruiting firm headquartered in Buffalo, NY. He has developed and scaled multiple businesses in tech, manufacturing, and service industries throughout his career.

SelectOne aligns a world class team, technologies, and processes to provide a differentiated "smarter" hiring experience for its clients."


I’ve seen a lot of hiring trends come and go over the years (remember those riddles that were supposed to test your critical thinking skills?) but there are a few that have been growing steadily for a while that I think are here to stay.

One is the realization that you want to hire someone who can grow into your organization, rather than looking for that mythical person who meets every criteria you could ever imagine coming in handy. When the downturn hit in 2008, we saw a lot of overqualified people on the hunt for junior-level jobs, meaning many companies didn’t see a reason to put much effort into training. Why bother, when people with years of experience were banging on the doors to be considered?

But those same companies also found that many of those employees weren’t happy in those jobs. They had a million skills and few opportunities to use them. Or, they were superstars in their old organization but struggled to adapt to different priorities and practices in their new environment. When the economy started picking up again, those employees typically moved on as quickly to pursue jobs that fit their skills and experience better.

This all gave employers a new perspective on what makes an amazing hire. Basically, on-paper qualifications alone aren’t a reliable indicator of success. We hear people talking about hiring for culture now. That’s getting warmer, but there’s still a lot to be understood when it comes to assessing true job suitability of employees.

People are recognizing that, in the past, “culture fit” often meant belonging to the old boy’s club. It was used as an excuse to maintain a discriminatory workplace. But at the same time, the glut of highly-qualified workers during the recession also taught employers that culture fit does matter, just not in a way that means there’s no diversity of background or thought.

We hear people talking about hiring for culture now. That’s getting warmer, but there’s still a lot to be understood when it comes to assessing true job suitability of employees.


Both introverts and extroverts can thrive or flounder in a very formal, structured culture. Gender has no impact on whether someone will enjoy multitasking. So whole companies are, on a really granular level, diving into what their culture actually is, outside of personalities. And also what they want it to be.

What this all means for job-seekers is twofold. On one hand, it requires an additional level of self-awareness. It’s really easy to say “Yes, I’m certified in XYZ and can use ABC machinery comfortably.” It’s another thing altogether to know “I’m only happy when I’m challenged and would be miserable with a low-volume workload” or “I prefer to have very clear goals and feel happiest when my manager is open to me seeking regular feedback.”

Secondly, job seekers at every level can expect employers to be looking for cues about whether you’d be a good match for their company culture. It may take some time, but I am expecting more employers to ask questions rooted in behavioral data. “Tell me about a time when you felt really supported by your manager.” “Talk about an incident when someone you were supervising seemed overwhelmed by their workload. How did you handle that?” To that extent, we’re seeing smart hiring managers and staffing professionals leveraging behavioral data to determine job suitability. And this is, in my opinion, the biggest and most impactful trend in our industry right now.

But that’s just scratching the surface. When we use the term “job suitability” what we’re really getting at is: how many data points about a person can we collect that when combined, paint the most reliable picture of success? Education history is one data point. Work history is another. So is how well a candidate presents themselves in an interview. What we are realizing - and really few others are - is that there are far more data points employers have to explore. That’s where personality assessments and other behavioral tools come into play to help employers determine true job suitability.

Given how technology and new scientific methods have transformed so many industries in what seems like overnight, sometimes it’s surprising to me that more of our industry peers have yet to embrace these tools. But they’re here. And as we can attest from our experience, they work. So it’s really only a matter of time.

What we are realizing - and really few others are - is that there are far more data points employers have to explore.


What personally excites me about advanced job suitability methods is not only how it helps employers find the right candidates for their organization. But by doing so it also promises to help place employees in the right situations for higher probabilities of success in their roles. Once these tools become adopted industry-wide, it will be interesting to see what kind of impact it has on employee turnover, professional satisfaction and overall organizational output. Big data is changing how we build teams and the outcomes will be amazing.


Kevin Kerl, CEO, SelectOne