Welcome to the wonderful world of ‘Skills vs Cultural Fit’!

It’s a funny old life, isn’t it? Here you are, having done everything asked of you in school to ensure one day, you would land your dream role – and you’re battling. You worked hard, passed exams, and most likely continued your education at university. Years later, with a list of skills as long as your arm - perhaps even a string of letters after your name - you set off to find that perfect job. Only, Dream Job HQ is now telling you that’s not enough. Seems you’re not shy on the necessary skills – you’re just not the right cultural fit.

Does this sound familiar? If not, then prepare yourself because at some stage this working life, it will show itself – perhaps not with the first job you go for, but certainly with one you will come across this forty plus years working! Because in today’s highly competitive market, cultural fit has become one of – if not THE most – essential components to the hiring process. But what IS cultural fit and why has it become so important? Here’s everything you need to know to stay in the know!

Cultural what?

Every organisation has its own culture. That is, a set of core values and beliefs which help to shape the way it operates in the world. For example, Organisation A might be entirely goals-driven and conducts its business in a highly rigid, structured manner; Organisation B, on the other hand, is more relaxed and promotes teamwork above hierarchy. Where one candidate might flourish in the former, they will flounder in the latter, and vice versa, based purely on the type of person they are. CEOs know this all too well, which is why they are asking recruiters to look beyond skill-set and assess candidates based on either their demonstrated or potential alignment to the company’s values and beliefs. Makes sense?

So, my skills are worth zip…

Not so fast! Skills are never useless; in the first instance, they help you stand out from the crowd of tens to hundreds of candidates all gunning for that same role, with most recruiters continuing to look first to the experience of a candidate before they start digging deeper for signs of cultural alignment. That said, many a skill can be taught – timely, perhaps, but also completely do-able - with some employers actually happier to show new recruits their way of getting the job done; with some roles, particularly those which are highly technical, it’s preferable. So, shout loudly on your CV about the many skills you possess, whilst being mindful there may be an expectation to acquire more.

‘If The Cap Fits’

So, why is it super important to fit in culturally? From the company’s perspective, this boils down to costs. The hiring process is an unavoidable expense, yet one of the key drivers for a recruiter is to source people who will settle in, work hard and remain in the business long-term to spare them more costs again; for many, a strong retention rate forms a part of their accountability targets. Put simply, the longer an employer is on the books, the less time and money is spent finding a replacement. So, if you look like you’ll fit in with the environment, engage with your team mates, and value the company culture, you are GOLD to a recruiter!

Isn’t this what everybody wants?

If you’re just coming into the workforce for the first time – aka a ‘Generation Zed’ type – then YES! Together with predecessor, Gen Y, the Zeds are set to account for over half the workforce by 2020, which means employers had best sit up and take a listen to their needs and quick! Thankfully, it’s all about the culture for this lot – a company’s approach to work/life balance, flexible working options, career opportunities and extended leave – each placed in higher esteem than a salary package. Further, many Zeds are so keen to work they are forgoing an extended education which will see more people than ever before coming into the workforce having little to no skills. In other words, on the job learning is about to become the norm.

But don’t panic, highly skilled ones! We recruiters know there’s a company match for every type of personality around – our job is to help you find the right one for you.

To talk to us about the incredible opportunities we have right now, please do give us a call on 09104 769142, or drop us an email to info@121york.co.uk.