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New Study Finds Cultural Fit Trumps Job Qualifications In Human Resources Hiring Decisions

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A new study found that when it comes to human resources hiring decisions, employers may value candidates who are a good cultural fit over those who can do best on the job. The researchers voice concerns that the emphasis on background similarities may create a class bias in hiring at elite firms.

Study author Lauren A. Rivera, an assistant professor of management and organizations and sociology at Northwestern University, spoke out in the December issue of the American Sociological Review. She said, “Of course, employers are looking for people who have the baseline of skills to effectively do the job. But, beyond that, employers really want people who they will bond with, who they will feel good around, who will be their friend and maybe even their romantic partner.”

Based on more than 100 interviews at leading U.S. investment banks, law firms and management consulting firms, more than half of the evaluators ranked cultural fit as the most important criterion at the job interview stage. Rivera suggests that this may mean that parental socioeconomic status plays a big part here. She said, “Evaluators are predominately white, Ivy League-educated, upper-middle or upper class men and women who tend to have more stereotypically masculine leisure pursuits and favor extracurricular activities associated with people of their background.”

Rivera also commented on how these findings might apply to other workplaces. While leisure interests would be expected to be particularly significant in more affluent circles, the specific cultural similarities that matter might vary in different settings. If you’re applying at a health food store, maybe no one will care if you play squash, but being a vegan could potentially give you an edge.

While the authors say this is the first empirical demonstration of this process, human resource professionals have long recognized the importance of finding candidates who fit in. This is one reason behind detailed job descriptions that give applicants a chance to screen themselves out if long hours or a laid-back environment doesn’t jibe with their personal values. It also helps to explain why employee referrals are highly valued for finding new employees who will connect with the current ones.

If nothing else, employers may want to consider whether the study findings suggest a barrier to bringing on board new employees who could be top performers and the implications for developing diverse and inclusive workplaces. For recruiters and job seekers, it’s another reminder to pay attention to extracurricular activities and other considerations that could be even more important than grades and job skills.

Job Descriptions of the President and Vice President: An Infographic

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On the heels of the Presidential Election, we thought it would be interesting to take an in-depth look into the actual job descriptions of the President and Vice President of the United States.

Luckily, Manpower recently unveiled two infographics detailing the responsibilities, skills, salary, and benefits of each position.

“These infographics help us understand the requirements of the most high profile temporary positions in the world – the President and Vice President of the United States,” Julie Cole, ManpowerGroup vice president of marketing for North America, said in a press release.

“The U.S. presidential campaign can be viewed as a lengthy interview with the American people selecting who gets the top two jobs with their votes,” she continued. “Nearly every job comes with a job description, and the roles of the president and vice president are no exception.”

Click here to see the infographics.

Recruiting Jobs Pick Up as Companies Prep for Year End Hiring Surge

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More companies are looking to bring on new recruiters as they prepare for the typical end-of-the-year hiring surge.

A recent report from Wanted Analytics found that the number of job postings for recruiters and other staffing professionals increased by 12 percent in September when compared to 2011 and by 29 percent when compared to 2010. This is also a good sign that the recruitment industry has officially recovered from the effects of the economic recession.

When it comes to overall growth in recruiting jobs, San Francisco takes the lead, with a 36 percent increase in job postings when compared to last year. The top five cities with the most recruiting jobs listed during September were:

  1. New York, N.Y.
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Chicago, Ill.
  4. Los Angeles, Calif.
  5. San Francisco, Calif.

And if you’re looking for a recruiting job, make sure you’re brushing up on your negotiation and social media skills, because it’s not enough to just know the basics anymore:

We’ve been watching hiring demand for Recruiters for a while and noticed that job requirements continue to evolve for this profession. In addition to traditional recruiting skills – like experience with applicant tracking software (ATS) and full lifecycle recruiting – there are several emerging skill sets that are gaining more traction every month. Two of these include negotiation and social media skills. The number of job ads that look for candidates with strong negotiation abilities is up 13 percent compared to September 2011. Job ads with social media requirements have grown even more incredibly, up 52 percent since last year.

To learn more about ATS and other important recruitment tools, check out www.pcrecruiter.net.

5 Things Recruiters Can Learn from the Presidential Debates

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With the 2012 Presidential Election less than three weeks away, we’ve officially entered the dreaded zone of back and forth debates, non-stop trash talking commercials, and endless political posts on Facebook. Even though this time of year can be annoying, there are some things that recruiters can learn, especially from the Presidential debates.

Americans don’t simply let someone walk into the White House without an intense screening process, the same way that you shouldn’t hire new employees without knowing all that you can about them. While the vetting process isn’t quite as intense for normal job candidates, there are still a lot of similarities.

Here are five things recruiters can learn from the Presidential debates:

  1. Interview your candidates thoroughly. Just as Americans want to know as much as they can about each Presidential candidate before they make a decision, recruiters should learn as much as they can about each potential employee before choosing who to hire. Keep in mind that it usually takes more than one interview to learn everything you need to know about a candidate – you not only want to know about their experience and their skills, but their attitude and how they will fit in with your company culture – so it helps to have a series of different types of interviews with different people in the company.
  2. Understand what each candidate’s strengths are. By thoroughly reading through their resumes and conducting several interviews, you should eventually be able to pinpoint what each candidate’s strengths are. Once you know each candidate’s skills and abilities, you can more easily decide who’s talents align with the job and your company as a whole.
  3. Understand what each candidate’s weaknesses are. Just as you need to know what each candidate’s strengths are, you also need to know what each candidate’s weaknesses are. You can unveil a job seeker’s weaknesses by simply asking them what they think their own weaknesses are and by asking a number of other behavioral-based questions. You shouldn’t always discount a candidate because of their weaknesses, but instead ask yourself how you might be able to help that job seeker overcome their weaknesses and whether or not they’re willing to grow and learn within the position.
  4. Check the facts. Just like Presidential candidates, most job seekers will say almost anything to make themselves look good, which is why you need to check all the facts. Make sure you verify a potential employee’s education and employment history, try to speak to a few references about the candidate, and maybe even conduct a thorough background check so you can be assured the person is who they say they are.
  5. Pick the person that’s best for the job. Once all the interviews are complete and your fact-checking is done, you might be left with several candidates that you think have enough experience and are qualified for the position. This is where you need to use your gut instinct to pick who will be best for the job at hand, not necessarily who has the most experience or the most education.

75 Percent of American Workforce Looking for New Jobs

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A huge number of Americans are currently looking for new job opportunities – is your recruiting team ready?

Earlier this week, Jobvite released its Social Job Seeker Survey 2012, which found that a whopping 75 percent of Americans in the workforce are looking for new job opportunities. This is a 6 percent increase from last year.

The survey polled more than 2,100 adults – 1,300 of which are considered to be in the workforce, meaning they are either employed or unemployed and looking for a job. Of those who are employed, 69 percent are looking for a new job, up from 61 percent last year.

Some other interesting findings of the survey include:

  • About 33 percent of job seekers are less optimistic about finding a new job this year.
  • 61 percent of job seekers think finding a job is more difficult this year.
  • 41 percent of job seekers think they are overqualified for their current positions.
  • 83 percent of job seekers use Facebook to look for work, a slight jump from 82 percent in 2011.
  • The number of job seekers using Twitter to look for work increased from 37 percent to 46 percent over the last year.
  • The number of job seekers looking for work on LinkedIn grew from 32 percent to 41 percent between 2011 and 2012.
  • 88 percent of all job seekers have at least one social media profile, while 64 percent have two accounts, and 44 percent are using three or more networks.
  • 24 percent of job seekers have been asked for social media info when applying for a job.

“With fierce competition for jobs, which now includes a majority of employed people on top of active job seekers, social media has become a critical tool for job hunting and career growth,” Dan Finnigan, President & CEO of Jobvite, said in a press release. “One in six job seekers polled credited a social network for leading to their current/most recent employment.

“Maintaining your online presence and keeping employment top-of-mind at all times are vital to professional success,” he continued. “With technology and social networking rapidly evolving, those who don’t engage through Facebook, LinkedIn and/or Twitter will quickly find themselves falling behind.”