Research and values

Community CareersOne of the common trends of any discussion about recruitment is the ‘culture fit’ test. Increasingly seen by many in the industry as a cop-out response for rejecting a candidate, we’ve noticed a real trend around this being a reason not to hire a recruiter or sourcer in recent months. More so than before.

That said it’s not a cop-out, albeit the feedback itself can often be weak because the hiring organisation struggles to communicate the meaning of it. This is particularly a problem where ‘culture fit’ is confused with ‘values fit’, and there’s a lack of direct and honest feedback.

What does it mean? Well typically the shape of this feedback when we hear it is fundamentally not weak at all; it’s tough love.

The person did not prepare, did not do research and does not share our values.

These three things are not mutually exclusive but do get confused. Regularly we hear the shrill claim that “they approached me, so why should I do lots of research? They should be pitching me not the other way round”.

That’s an argument we can have all day. What it does not cover is where candidates answer questions in a way that demonstrates a clear difference to organisational values.

Values fit

In additional to experience and technical fit, the final key area right now to a successful recruiter interview is the values fit. The challenge for many recruiters, particularly those coming from an agency background, is ‘we like to win, we want to get every job’. This can mean treating an interview process like it has to conclude with an offer, whether it’s the right job for us or not.

Research should not be treated as an unnecessary challenge or waste of time; it’s part of the exploration of the opportunity and understanding if it’s right for you. Time and again the best recruiters we see with clear progression, stable CVs and an engaging approach are those who prepare and check that values fit. They’re also typically the most comfortable at stepping away from an opportunity where their values do not align to an organisation – and rightly so.

It’s not a trick question to ask about how you use data in your role as a recruiter by a company who states that using data for better outcomes is a core value. Instead, it’s an opportunity for you to share your experience and your organisational fit.

Given that most organisations increasingly have a values interview as part of their process, and will ask open questions to judge your fit, spending time upfront getting to know a firm will save you time in the long run and put you in the best position to secure that role you absolutely want. 

By Andrew Mountney, founding partner at in-house recruitment specialist Aspen In-House

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