If you’re applying for a job you don’t need to worry too much about your work skills. You could just as well look a little further into the website of the company. What kind of people work there, what are their values and their hobbies? A new study shows employers often look for potential friends.
Lauren Rivera, assistant professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, explored the hiring process by interviewing and observing employers of elite companies like law or consulting firms. It’s like picking out a partner or friend, she concludes.
Former studies on hiring focused mostly on easily observable data, like school, race and gender. But Rivera instead looked at a broader spectrum of possible influences. She saw that employers don’t always pick the most skilled candidate, but the one that ‘fits’ best on the workfloor.
Just like when people pick friends or romantic partners, employers look for similarities in job candidates. Do they have the same hobbies, experiences and presentation style as the other colleagues? This often outweighs the actual expected productivity. So don’t try to convince them that this job will be your hobby.
Photo: Flickr, s_falkow
Source: Rivera, L. (2012). Hiring as Cultural Matching: The Case of Elite Professional Service Firms American Sociological Review, 77 (6), 999-1022 DOI: 10.1177/0003122412463213