At the recent HR and Tech event in Mountain View, Saad Khan, a partner at CMEA Venture Capital, said determining cultural fit is one of the biggest unsolved challenges for hiring managers today.
The explosion of job boards and syndication platforms means it is relatively easy to get job opportunities in front of candidates. New technologies that parse resumes and give scores on the skill-fit of candidates make filtering and hiring easier. Still time and again companies spend thousands of dollars hiring then firing the wrong candidates, after missing the mark on whether a candidate has the right cultural fit for a given office or department.
Employees Work Longer, Harder, and for Less Pay if the Cultural Fit is Strong:
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, which sold to Amazon in 2009 for over a billion dollars, is known for placing a high importance on cultural fit.
In an interview Hsieh said, “We’ve actually passed on a lot of really talented people that we know would make an impact to our top or bottom line but if we know they’re not a culture fit we won’t hire them. Similarly, the company will fire people even if they’re doing their job perfectly if they’re bad for the culture.”
This statement says a lot. Hsieh recognizes that having a team that gels, will help foster more collaboration, better ideas, and in total a greater impact than a more talented hire would.
Nike is another great example — in Phil Knight’s years as a young entrepreneur, he built a culture of sport fanaticism, which was shared by all the Nike employees. This culture led to people being called “a Nike guy” (or girl) and drove a competitive spirit and kept top employees within the company far longer than the Bureau of Labor Statistics 4.4 year average.
Student Employment Brand:
At InternMatch we have found that a large hole exists in the area of student employment brand. While many companies struggle to build a consistent and well publicized employment brand, most companies fall flat when displaying the face of their work environment. Successful companies consider their future lifeblood.
It also means students end up making important career decisions in a vacuum of any significant employer knowledge. For example, the average engineering student knows a bit about Microsoft’s culture, but most have little insight into what it is like to work as a software intern at a growing tech company like Dropbox, or to be a technology intern at Fortune 500 beverage-company like Coca-Cola. This lack of knowledge can lead to sub-optimal career decisions.
We are currently rolling out a product to a few exclusive partners that is looking to address these challenges by showcasing video, photos, and other typically decentralized content, in order to communicate a company’s student brand. Chegg, 500 Startups and Jive are a few companies showcasing these community pages.
The goal is to help employers build a stronger student employment brand, hire interns who understand the company culture and convert more of these interns into full time hires. Ernst and Young exemplifies what can be accomplished by focusing on this goal. They have invested heavily in their student employment brand and at the recent ERE conference in San Diego, reported that they hire a ridiculously high 90% of their interns, building company culture from the ground up.
Nathan Parcells is co-founder and Director of Marketing at InternMatch.com. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009, Nathan joined long-time friend and co-founder, Andrew Maguire in starting InternMatch to build a better way for students to find great internships.