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Increasingly employers are looking to hire for cultural fit; to bring people on board who will not only uphold the aims and values of the organisation but will actively bring something positive to the organisational mix.
What do you look for when taking on new staff? Whilst qualifications and experience still count for much, increasingly employers are looking to hire for cultural fit; to bring people on board who will not only uphold the aims and values of the organisation but will actively bring something positive to the organisational mix.
Partly, this move towards hiring for cultural fit has been born out of an increasing realisation that organisational culture can be the differentiator between success and failure, profit and loss. And when organisations are looking to strengthen their culture they cannot afford to take on employees who are going to ‘rock the boat’ no matter how impressive their qualifications may look on paper.
This is particularly important when organisations are looking to move towards a culture of innovation in which collaboration and agility are key factors. But when potential employees present straight out of school or university, how can employers be sure that candidates have the necessary skills to be able to collaborate or to act on their own initiative? This is a question which is increasingly being recognised in university, with courses in many disciplines including an element of collaborative project work to help prepare students for the world of work.
In schools too, students are increasingly being encouraged to stretch themselves by taking on project work. This has been borne out by the fact that record numbers of A-level students have this year taken on an extended project qualification. Counting as half of A-level, the extended project enables students to choose a topic, conduct research, and present their findings in a variety of means from written submissions to presenting shows or organising events.
Candidates who already have proven experience in acting on their own initiative and in running projects can only be of benefit to employers. However, this is only one part of hiring for cultural fit, and employers still need to take steps to ensure that they take candidates who will both fit in and bring something to the organisational party.