Cubiks International Survey on Job and Cultural Fit. July 2013

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1 Cubiks International Survey on Job and Cultural Fit July 2013

2 Preface Historically job fit has been an integral The results show that overall employers part of the recruitment process, but recognise the importance of evaluating recently organisational culture has been the cultural fit of candidates alongside job taking a more prominent role. As a result, fit. Although this is the case, a significant the cultural fit of potential employees is proportion of respondents organisations currently high on the agenda for recruiters. have yet to establish a definition of their The main catalyst for this renewed and growing interest has been the shift in the values of the labour market as a new generation of staff enters the workforce. Belonging to Gen Y and Z, these people look for employers that differentiate themselves by their brand, company values and CSR. A small survey Cubiks conducted on cultural fit among corporate recruiters in the Netherlands last year uncovered some interesting findings, so we decided to focus our 2013 international survey on this topic. Reflecting the international nature of Cubiks work, the survey was conducted on a global scale, exploring how job fit and cultural fit culture and do not have robust methods for assessing cultural fit. It is reasonable to assume that this gap will grow in the short term as workforce demographics shift in favour of Gens Y and Z and employers take time to adjust their selection processes. I would like to thank everyone who participated in this survey for sharing their views on job fit and cultural fit and helping us gain deeper insight into these topics. I hope you find this report interesting, and as always please contact us if there is anything you would like to discuss. Martin Smith Cubiks CEO are perceived, defined and measured by organisations around the world. International Survey on Job and Cultural Fit Martin Smith, Cubiks CEO

3 Contents Preface 1 Introduction and demographics 4 Key findings 5 Job fit and recruitment in your organisation 6 Cultural fit and recruitment in your organisation 8 The relationship between job fit and cultural fit 11 Conclusion 12 How can Cubiks help with assessing job and cultural fit? 13 2 International Survey on Job and Cultural Fit

4 Introduction and Demographics In March 2013 Cubiks carried out an international survey on job fit and cultural fit. This global survey asked participants about their experiences and opinions of cultural and job fit and what their organisation s practices are in relation to these areas. Over time, organisations have become skilled at measuring job fit, but we wanted to investigate how they evaluate cultural fit and how this relates to job fit. Alongside this we asked questions about how organisational culture is defined as well as whether employers use cultural fit as one of their criteria in selection processes. We received almost 500 responses to the survey from people in 54 different countries. 63% of these were based in Europe, 26% in Oceania, 8% in the USA and 3% in Africa. Almost three quarters of respondents said that their organisation operated in more than one country. Our survey respondents came from a broad variety of business functions, company sizes, industries and countries, providing a sample that is a good representation of the international workforce. The data we collected therefore will be of great interest to HR professionals around the world. In this report we present a summary of the key findings from the survey before going into more detail about the responses. To match the format of the survey, this report is split into three sections; job fit and recruitment, cultural fit and recruitment, and the relationship between job fit and cultural fit. This global survey asked participants about their experiences and opinions of cultural and job fit and what their organisation s practices are in relation to these areas. We received almost 500 responses from people in 54 different countries. 63% of these were based in Europe, 26% in Oceania, 8% in the USA and 3% in Africa. 4 International Survey on Job and Cultural Fit

5 Key Findings Job fit and recruitment Over a third (35%) of respondents think that the job descriptions used by their organisation are not a good reflection of reality. Interviews (face-to-face and telephone), CVs and personality questionnaires are the most used methods for assessing job fit. 15% of respondents said that their organisation does not have clearly defined job descriptions. Cultural fit and recruitment Most respondents (82%) said they think measuring cultural fit is important and 54% said that their organisation has a clear definition of its culture. Only 32% of respondents said their organisation measures cultural fit in recruitment processes. 59% of respondents indicated that they would be in favour of dismissing a high potential employee if they were out of step with the organisation s culture. Almost all respondents (92%) disagreed with the statement cultural fit is just a buzz word. 59% of respondents have rejected candidates based on their lack of cultural fit. The relationship between job fit and cultural fit A large number of respondents (85%) said they believe cultural fit is harder to measure than job fit. Respondents rated both job fit and cultural fit as good predictors of future job performance, although job fit was rated slightly better (86% rated it as indicating performance well to very well, with only 75% giving cultural fit this rating). 78% of respondents said that job fit is easier to develop than cultural fit, with many indicating that they believe cultural fit is not something that can be developed. International Survey on Job and Cultural Fit 5

6 Job fit and recruitment in your organisation Historically the primary focus in recruitment processes has been on job fit; the extent to which an employee s competencies, work experience and needs align with the requirements of a particular job. As a central part of the recruitment process, it is important that the approach to assessing job fit is as efficient and effective as possible. Thorough, robust assessments will offer employers vital knowledge about a candidate, enabling them to minimise the risk of making a bad hiring decision. We were interested in finding out about the tools and methods employers use for measuring job fit and how useful they feel these are. The keywords respondents used when talking about job fit supported the definition given above, with frequent mention of skills, experience and competencies: Job descriptions When assessing job fit it is important to know exactly what the role demands. This means that the first step in assessing job fit is establishing a comprehensive job description for the role in question. In general the survey results show that many organisations are using clear job descriptions that give an accurate representation of what a role entails. A large proportion (84%) of respondents said that their organisation uses clearly defined job descriptions. Of these, 65% rated the job descriptions being used as reflecting reality well to very well. On the other hand, around a third of respondents did not rate their organisation s job descriptions as reflecting reality well. Furthermore, 8% of respondents said that in terms of trueness to the role, their organisation s job descriptions were poor to very poor. Measuring job fit Once job descriptions have been defined, a rigorous process needs to be put in place to evaluate how far a candidate matches the requirements it sets out. Our survey asked which tools respondents organisations use for this, and the most frequently used were: Face-to-face interviews CVs that include qualifications and experience Telephone interviews Personality questionnaires References Assessment centres. 6 International Survey on Job and Cultural Fit

7 Job fit and recruitment in your organisation continued... Our survey results demonstrate that although these methods are the most commonly used, they are not necessarily perceived as the most useful. The graph below shows the five methods rated most useful by respondents. These include trial days and simulation exercises, which significantly are not among the most used tools. It is notable that some measures, such as Simulation exercises and Personality questionnaires, can also be part of an Assessment Centre. Three of the tools that respondents said were most used for assessing job fit; CVs, references and phone interviews have in fact been rated as the least useful. 71% said that their organisation uses CVs to evaluate job fit, with 13% rating them as the least effective tool for this purpose. As the graphs above and below demonstrate, opinion is very much divided when it comes to the usefulness of trial days for measuring job fit. Percentage of respondents What are the most useful measures of job fit? 5 0 Interviews (face to face) Assessment centres Trial days Simulation exercises Personality questionnaires Percentage of respondents What are the least useful measures of job fit? References CVs (including qualifications & experience) Interviews (by phone) Cognitive ability tests Trial days International Survey on Job and Cultural Fit 7

8 Cultural fit and recruitment in your organisation Historically job fit has been the most important factor in recruitment processes. Although it continues to play a major role, many recruiters are placing a new emphasis on the candidate s fit with their organisation s values and beliefs. This cultural fit is progressively becoming an established part of the recruitment process in many major organisations. What is organisational culture? Organisational culture has often been described as what people do when they think nobody is watching. It s the beliefs and rituals that act as glue within an organisation, integrating individuals and creating a sense of belonging and joint purpose. It s something people identify with not because they have been told to, but because they have shared values and beliefs and it resonates with what inspires them. An overwhelming majority of our survey respondents (82%) said that measuring cultural fit is an important part of the recruitment process. But without knowing how a culture is defined, it is very difficult to assess whether potential employees will fit with it. From this perspective, the topic raises some interesting questions; how is cultural fit measured? How does it relate to job fit? How do job fit and cultural fit interact to inform hiring decisions? And how does this vary internationally? We asked our survey respondents about their experiences and perceptions of cultural fit. These are the most frequently used keywords in their responses: Organisational culture as a concept is extremely complex, and wherever we see a discussion of this topic there are always countless opinions on what it means, how it works and why it is important. Regardless of the disparate views on the subject, there is usually a consensus around the fact that it is too important for businesses to ignore. This is evident in our survey results, as 92% of respondents disagreed with the statement Cultural fit is just an empty buzz word. As it is so closely linked with the values and mindset of an organisation, culture is an important part of defining an organisation s identity. Every culture is unique, and it can therefore play a key part in helping a business stand out from the crowd. This is demonstrated by the fact that 86% of our survey respondents agreed with the statement, Our organisational culture helps us differentiate from our competitors. Taking all of this into account, we can see why it is important for organisations to spend time exploring and understanding their own culture. This culture exists, whether it is defined or not, and if organisations do not communicate a solid definition of their culture it is likely to be decided for them. An overwhelming majority of respondents to our survey believe that cultural fit is important and that it should definitely form a part of any recruitment process. Respondents perceive employees cultural fit as playing a vital role in the overall success of their organisation. 85% agreed with the statement, Organisations whose employees fully embrace the culture find it easier to navigate through tough economic times. Although such a large proportion of respondents said that it is important to measure cultural fit, our results suggest that many organisations are yet to put in place the means for doing so. 8 International Survey on Job and Cultural Fit

9 Cultural fit and recruitment in your organisation continued... Defining and measuring cultural fit Just over half (54%) of respondents said that their organisation has a clearly defined culture. The results suggest that employers who put in place definitions of their culture generally take the time to ensure that these are well aligned with the real culture that exists within their organisation. 62% of those working for an organisation with a defined culture said that the definitions reflect reality well to very well, with only 10% of this group rating them as being poor to very poor. Only a third of respondents said that their organisation currently measures cultural fit in its recruitment process. It is interesting to note that 16% of respondents who said their organisation does not have a clear definition of culture also said that cultural fit is measured in the recruitment process. This would suggest that the methods being used to assess cultural fit in these organisations may not be very robust, as it is difficult to apply an objective measure without an accurate, clear definition of what you are assessing for. Without this definition in place it is possible that recruiters in these organisations may be using their gut feeling to evaluate cultural fit. Of the respondents that said cultural fit is measured during their organisation s recruitment process, the vast majority favoured using face-to-face interviews to evaluate it. The graph below shows the top ten most used methods for assessing cultural fit. Number of responses How do you measure cultural fit? (Top 10) Interviews (face to face) Personality questionnaires 34 Assessment centres 27 Interviews (by phone) CVs (including qualifications Cultral fit questionnaires 16 Simulation exercises References Trail days Competency questionnaires International Survey on Job and Cultural Fit 9

10 Cultural fit and recruitment in your organisation continued... These results show that there is a wide gap between how many people use interviews for measuring cultural fit and the use of other assessment tools such as questionnaires and assessment centres. This could again be related to the fact that a large proportion of organisations do not have clear definitions of their culture. They therefore evaluate a candidate s cultural fit in a face to face meeting by getting a feel for how their personality would fit in, as they don t have a specific approach in place. When respondents were asked which tools they thought were the most useful for assessing cultural fit, again face-to-face interviews came out on top. These were followed closely by cultural fit questionnaires, which did not even appear in the top five most used ways to measure cultural fit among respondents. This would suggest that many respondents are not entirely satisfied with their current approach, as they feel these questionnaires are useful, yet their organisations are not applying them. What are the most useful measures of cultural fit? Percentage of respondents Reinforcing the suggestion earlier that respondents prefer using assessment methods that are linked with personality and require personal contact with a candidate, the tools deemed least useful included CVs, references, skills tests and ability tests. Percentage of respondents What are the least useful measures of cultural fit? CVs (including qualifications and experience References Skill tests Cognitive ability tests Interviews (by phone) Despite the fact that many respondents say their organisation doesn t have a clear definition of its culture or methods in place to measure an individual s fit with it, 59% said they have rejected a candidate because they lacked cultural fit. In fact, of the respondents who said their organisation does not measure cultural fit, a vast majority said they had rejected candidates based on it. Of course we cannot assume that these instances occurred exclusively in the respondents current roles, but it is likely there are a significant number of organisations rejecting candidates due to cultural fit when they have no objective means in place to measure it. 0 Interviews (face to face) Cultral fit questionnaires Trial days Assessment centres Personality questionnaires 10 International Survey on Job and Cultural Fit

11 The relationship between job fit and cultural fit Job fit and cultural fit both have important parts to play in the recruitment process. We wanted to discover how people compare the importance and relevance of the two concepts. Exploring the interaction between cultural and job fit raises important questions around how the two ideas relate, and how they can combine to support hiring decisions. Predicting performance Overall the respondents to our survey rated both job fit and cultural fit as good predictors of performance. Job fit however was rated slightly higher, with 86% of respondents saying it predicted performance well to very well compared to the 75% that gave cultural fit the same rating. Job fit is a well-established part of the recruitment process so it is unsurprising that it was rated highly, whereas cultural fit is not measured as often. This suggests that although people are not very experienced at dealing with cultural fit, they see its role in recruitment as highly significant. Developing job fit and cultural fit Over three quarters of respondents (78%) said that they agreed with the statement, It is easier to develop people with a lack of job fit than to develop people with a lack of cultural fit. 57% of respondents said that job fit could often be developed, compared with 26% who said the same for cultural fit. Furthermore, 23% said that cultural fit could only rarely be developed, compared with a mere 1.9% who said the same for job fit. Percentage of respondents Can job fit and cultural fit be developed? Not sure Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always Job Fit Cultural Fit These results are significant in particular when it comes to assessing job and cultural fit during recruitment processes. According to these results, it is likely that recruiters would be inclined to choose a candidate who has a high level of cultural fit above those who might have a better degree of job fit but are not so well matched with the culture. If cultural fit is seen as something that cannot be developed, or is difficult to develop, this makes assessing it accurately during the recruitment process even more critical. International Survey on Job and Cultural Fit 11

12 Conclusion Job fit Overall, the survey results demonstrated that most organisations use job descriptions that are clear and give an accurate representation of the role. Although this is the case, there were a significant number (around a third) of respondents that did not rate their organisation s job descriptions as reflecting reality well. There are many possible reasons why job descriptions may not reflect the role accurately. One is that there can sometimes be a disparity between the people who write job descriptions and the managers who work in the relevant business functions. It can be the case that managers go to HR for standard job descriptions that are kept on file and use them without reviewing and updating the content. In particular, inaccurate role descriptions are used when HR and hiring managers do not have time to discuss a job description and make sure it is relevant before the recruitment process begins. In terms of the methods used to measure job fit, the survey results showed a discrepancy between the tools used and those perceived as most useful. There was consensus between the use and usefulness of face-to-face interviews, but trial days and simulation exercises were deemed very useful yet did not appear in the top most used methods. Cultural Fit The survey results showed that the majority of respondents feel that cultural fit is important; 92% of respondents disagreed with the statement Cultural fit is just an empty buzz word. Reinforcing this, 86% of respondents said that their organisational culture helps differentiate them from competitors, and a similar number agreed that organisations whose employees fully embrace the culture find it easier to navigate through tough economic times. The results indicate that although most respondents (82%) think it is important to measure cultural fit, a significant number of organisations are yet to put in place the means for doing so. Only a third of respondents said that their organisation currently measures cultural fit in its recruitment process. Of these, the majority said they use face-toface interviews for measuring cultural fit, rather than more objective assessment tools. This could be reflective of the fact that around half of the respondents said their organisation did not have a clear definition of its culture. Without this, it is difficult to use other assessment tools and evaluations of cultural fit have to rely on the interviewer s judgement when they meet a candidate. When respondents were asked which tools they thought were the most useful for assessing cultural fit, face-to-face interviews were the favourite, but were closely followed by cultural fit questionnaires. This suggests that respondents are not satisfied with their current approach as they feel these questionnaires would be more beneficial than the methods they are using. Although a significant number of respondents said their organisation doesn t have a definition of its culture or methods in place to measure how individuals fit with it, 59% said they have rejected a candidate because they lacked cultural fit. The relationship between job fit and cultural fit The respondents to our survey rated both job fit and cultural fit as good predictors of performance. Although including cultural fit assessments in recruitment is quite a recent development, respondents only rated it as slightly less important for predicting performance than job fit, demonstrating that they see its role as highly significant. Over three quarters of respondents said that it is easier to develop people with a lack of job fit than to develop people with a lack of cultural fit. 57% of respondents said that job fit could often be developed, compared with 26% who said the same for cultural fit. This implies that recruiters may be inclined to favour candidates who demonstrate a good fit with the organisation s culture, as shortcomings in terms of job fit can be developed. Overall, our results indicate that cultural fit is harder to measure than job fit. In general all organisations measure job fit, but our results show that only 33% measure cultural fit. It is likely that this is because cultural fit is less tangible. Often organisational culture is not clearly defined, therefore it is difficult to assess. This is demonstrated by the fact that 84% of respondents said their organisation uses clearly defined job descriptions, but only 54% have clear definitions of their culture. 12 International Survey on Job and Cultural Fit

13 How can Cubiks help with assessing job and cultural fit? From the survey results we can tell that many organisations still need to work on developing robust processes for assessing cultural fit. The implications of hiring someone who is not well matched for an organisation s culture can be serious, so it is important to integrate effective cultural fit assessments into selection processes. Our specialists can assist with: Defining the organisation s current and/or desired culture. Designing online questionnaires to measure cultural fit, including automated scoring and feedback to candidates. Developing interview questions and training recruiting / line managers to assess cultural fit. We can also work with employers to help incorporate cultural fit assessments in their online selection systems, providing applicants with realistic insight into the company s culture and business operations. This can be done for example by designing a Situational Judgment Questionnaire (SJQ) where candidates are asked to assume a role and have to indicate how they would react to tasks and problems in that specific setting. For examples of Cubiks SJQs visit our website to have a look at our case studies for L Oréal and a well known multiple retailer. Cubiks has an extensive track record designing, implementing and supporting clients with efficient, robust selection processes. We offer a range of highly effective psychometric tools as well as expert advice and services, giving you the necessary insight for making the best possible selection choices. When it comes to assessing job fit, we can support you throughout the process. Cubiks is able to assist with every step; including job analysis, competency modelling and providing online candidate assessment tools. Our team can also conduct assessment centres to analyse in depth the extent to which a participant matches the requirements for the job. As experts in the assessment field, we offer a standard range of products and services but we can also customise our solutions to fit perfectly with the needs of our clients around the world. If you would like to receive the detailed response summary from this survey or if you have any questions, please contact us on or Cubiks Ranger House, Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 4UL T F E W Cubiks is an international assessment and development consultancy with offices throughout Europe (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK), regional offices (UAE, Malaysia and the USA), licensed distributor operations and an international network of delivery partners. All rights reserved Cubiks Intellectual Property Limited 2013

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