Want to Land that Job? Pay Attention to the “Big 4” of Hiring

by Jennifer Miller on November 30, 2015

in Human Resources, Workplace Issues

job seeker interview

I’m a sponsored blog partner with Spherion (a staffing and recruiting organization) and am participating in the release of findings from Spherion’s Emerging Workforce® Study (“EWS.”)  All opinions are mine.

Want to find a new job? You probably figure that prospective employers place a heavy emphasis on your current job to decide if they want to hire you. Surprisingly, that’s not the case. Spherion’s Emerging Workforce Study uncovered this startling fact: less than ten percent of employers think your current employment status is an important factor in hiring decisions.

What are the things that influence whether or not a company hires you? According to the EWS, the following factors are important to employers:

Interview performance- 33%

Cultural fit in the organization- 33%

Resume- 13%

Personality assessment results- 9%

Resume writing is a topic unto itself, so let’s break down the other three factors.

Interview performance. No surprise here. Interviews are your way of “auditioning” for the company. If you clam up when on a job interview, you’re virtually guaranteed to get a pass from a company. In my experience, people simply don’t prepare enough for their interviews. They invest lots of time looking the part by deciding what to wear, but not nearly enough in crafting their interview responses. The single best thing you can do is learn about the behavioral interview process. Even if the interviewer doesn’t use this technique, if you prepare with this style of interview in mind, your answers will be well-thought-out and you’ll still be able to use them.

Cultural fit. When interviewers looks for “cultural fit,” essentially they want to know: how well will you fit in with “the way we do things around here”?  Again, doing your homework pays off. What is this company’s culture? Is it free-wheeling and dynamic? Serious and procedurally oriented? When you interview, give examples that showcase how your personal style matches that of the company’s predominant culture. Here’s the thing about culture: you either “fit” or you don’t. Yes, you’re being judged, no way around it. But I always advise people that being a square peg in a round hole is very uncomfortable. No matter how great the actual job is, if you’re not comfortable operating within the company’s vibe, it’s not going to work out for the long run. Better to figure that out during the interview and then move on if there’s not a fit.

Personality assessment. Your personality is uniquely you. It’s the summation of your values, your life experiences and the distinctive wiring that you were born with. There’s very little you can do (if anything) to change your personality. And why should you? A personality assessment that’s specifically designed for the hiring process can help companies decided if there’s a good “fit” with both the job you’re being hired to do and the organizational culture. In that way, they’re a helpful interviewing tool. Unfortunately, as a practitioner who has used assessments extensively for the past 25 years for professional development, I’ve also seen assessments misused in the hiring process. My best advice is don’t try to game the assessment. In most cases, you can’t and your results will be deemed inconclusive. And even if you could skew the results, why bother? You’re just telling the company a lie—and one that soon enough will come to light once you start in your new job.

What you’re doing now in your current role matters less than you might think for your job search. Pay attention to the “big four” of hiring—resume, interviewing, cultural fit and personality assessment—and you’ll make a great strides in landing your next great job assignment.



About the Emerging Workforce Study: For more than 18 years, Spherion has examined the issues and trends impacting employment and the workforce. This year, Spherion’s “Emerging Workforce Study” was conducted between March and April of 2015 by Harris Poll, a Nielsen company. The study polled over 2,000 workers and 225 human resource managers on their opinions and attitudes regarding important workplace topics such as employee engagement, job satisfaction, generational differences and work/life balance. One of the study’s goals was to look for indicators for what the workplace will become. As the perspectives and attitudes of the workforce evolve, employers must better understand employees for greater business success.

You can also follow Spherion on Twitter (hashtag #EWS2014) or join them on Facebook.

Disclosure: Spherion partnered with bloggers (like yours truly) for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. I was free to form my own opinions about the data supplied by Spherion and all opinions are my own. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.
Photo credit – copyright: racorn / 123RF Stock Photo

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