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Nonprofit HR’s Blog

By Leslie Walbridge

When looking for a job, it is frustrating to be passed over for positions that seem to match exactly with your qualifications. Often, these decisions are based on a perceived lack of “cultural fit”: an amorphous requirement that may seem (to the applicant) to be more subjective than useful. However, Kerry Schofield has looked at the research and examined just how important “fit” is, both for candidates and for employers. Her article about personality, hiring and teamwork was published in ERE Daily.

According to Schofield, “cultural fit accounts for nearly half the variance between employees in job satisfaction.” All other factors being equal, a good fit between employee personality and organization culture can mean the difference between a happy, healthy employee and a miserable one. When you are unemployed, it is common to think you would be happy anywhere, as long as you have some stability. But can we fault employers for seeing past your current desperation, and beyond the honeymoon phase right after you land the job, to the point where you realize it really isn’t a good fit? At that point, you will likely start looking for jobs that would better match your personality, and the organization will be left facing expensive and time-consuming  recruiting again.

A bit of advice: if you are currently looking for a job, save yourself and potential employers some agony by doing your research. Find out everything you possibly can about the office environment wherever you are looking to apply. If it doesn’t seem like someplace you would thrive, move on to the next opportunity. When possible, incorporate your understanding of how you would fit into the organization’s culture into your cover letter. Finally, be sure to emphasize the congruence of your personality with the job in your interview to make yourself stand out from other applicants whose qualifications may be the same, but may not fit as well culturally.

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