At Google you can meet in an egg. Genentech grants six-week sabbaticals to all employees for every six years of service. The Container Store offers sales employees a “family friendly” shift of 9am to 2pm. Netapp provides enhanced benefits for parents of special needs children and Methodist Hospital System sent all non-executive employees $250 gas cards when gas-prices climbed last year. These are all illustrations of organizational culture, and finding employees that fit your culture is an important aspect of the recruitment process.
Person-Organization fit is the match between individuals’ values with the norms and values of the organization, and establishing Person-Organization fit is important for organizations in reducing turnover, improving employee job satisfaction and reducing employee stress. In one study, managers who were most dissimilar to their organization in terms of age, education and lifestyle reported the poorest integration into their work teams. Another study found a relationship between PO fit and salary and career prospects, demonstrating the potential long-term effects of Person-Organization fit. While important, Person-Organization fit should not be used early in the selection process because it relies on subjective rather than objective opinions of recruiters and interviewers. The fit assessments by recruiters and interviewers could be biased and lead to illegal hiring practices. For example, applicant’s interpersonal skills, goal orientation, and physical attractiveness all contribute to assessments of fit when holding general employability constant. So regardless of an applicant’s ability, their physical attractiveness or conversational skills could lead to inaccurate hires or rejections. Instead Person-Organization fit should be considered in the recruitment strategy.
Person-Organization fit can be applied in the recruitment strategy by publicizing and reaffirming an honest public image in applicant-facing materials. Job applicants form their own personal assessments of fit early on through interaction with company representatives (e.g. recruiters or interviewers) and formal job materials (such as a website or job description), and pre-entry fit perceptions are related to both post-entry fit perceptions and employment quality. Other influences on fit assessments were the firm's general reputation, attitude toward product/industry, status of particular functional areas within the firm, training and advancement opportunities, and geographic location. In a 1992 study at Cornell, Timothy Judge and Robert Bretz, Jr. found that applicants were more concerned about their future employers sharing four values (1) concern for others, (2) achievement, (3) honesty, and (4) fairness, rather than about pay or promotional opportunities. These values were near universally viewed as desirable, and if honestly valued by an organization should be used in formal job sources.
When considering Person-Organization fit at your organization, formal job sources that convey honest information about the jobs, and about the organization’s values and culture will improve the accuracy of applicants’ fit perceptions. Even just increasing the number of formal job sources has been demonstrated to increase perceptions of fit with an organization. Therefore an organization looking to improve future employee fit should convey an honest image in formal job materials, train employees on how to interact with applicants and highlight its values. A perfect next step would be to put together a realistic job preview and post it on your organization’s website.
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About the Author:
Daniel is a former Ohioan transplanted to the blissful bay. He received his BA in German and Psychology in 2010 from Ohio State and then served two years with AmeriCorps in San Jose. Now he is a graduate student in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at San Francisco State University, where he assists with NASA research that will help put a man on Mars, and dreams of one day owning a dog. Check out his website, follow him on Twitter, circle him on Google, or connect with him on Linkedin.