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Speed Dating Or Long Term Commitment? Recruitment, It's All About Fit

Posted on the 13 February 2013 by Onetest @onetest_hr


Speed dating or long term commitment? Recruitment, it's all about fit


With today being Valentine’s day, it was interesting to see that eHarmony has recently announced a move into the recruitment space. At some point this year, eHarmony will offer a service aimed atmatching individual supervisors with potential employees based on personalities, work habits and hobbies.

As a psychologist working predominantly in assessment I do know a bit about measuring “fit” and identifying suitable candidates for work. Looking beyond the standard question of “can this person do the job” to other characteristics such as personality or work preferences is not new - Onetest has been doing just this since 1999.


Employee-organisation or cultural-fit: how will this person fit within the existing culture of the organisation?

Focussing on the supervisor-employee relationship is a good place to start when considering cultural-fit. Supervisors often act as an initial filter of the new employee’s experience with an organisation. This influence arises from regular interaction with supervisors and their knowledge as the new recruit learns the ropes and general processes of an organisation.

However, the real trick to measuring cultural-fit is to avoid relying solely on the judgement of a supervisor. A supervisor’s judgement is subjective and may be influenced by superficial characteristics that might not matter in the long term. There are a variety of established methods to help objectively quantify organisational culture and determine levels of fit between an organisation and individual. One such method with strong empirical support(1) is a values system, which determines the level of congruence between the values of an organisation and a job candidate. Values congruence has demonstrated links to employee outcomes such as organisational commitment, job satisfaction, tenure and job performance.

Employee-team fit

Employee-team fit: how will this person integrate and interact with the existing team?

Employee-team fit is difficult to predict. Just because a person can do the job, doesn't necessarily mean the rest of the team will get along with them. Eventually this will have a negative impact on the entire team - not ideal at all! Even without all the empirical support, the affect of employing staff who are well suited to the company culture and the rest of the team quickly becomes evident when interacting with them. They appear genuinely passionate about what they do, are often well equipped to respond to customer queries and speak positively about their employer. The affects of the opposite, employing staff not well suited or supported by the company culture, can be even more readily apparent. A lack of passion and interest, an inability to help and a general, negative “vibe” and your customers are soon out the door or off the phone with a greatly reduced chance of visiting again. I know what type of employees I’d prefer to be working with.


The general consensus is that without the use of objective and valid assessments, the task of accurately identifying the right person becomes much more difficult. Knowing whether a person can perform in a role is difficult enough, let alone gauging whether they will fit in with the organisational culture and work well within the existing team. So will turning their compatibility algorithm to the employer-employee relationship result in similar success for eHarmony in the recruitment space? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.


(1) Finegan, J.E. (2000). The impact of person and organizational values on organizational commitment. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 73, 149-169.

Goodman, S. A. & Svyantek, D. J. (1999). Person-organization fit and contextual performance: Do shared values matter? Journal of Vocational Behavior, 254-275.

Kalliath, T.J., Bluedorn, A.C., & Strube, M.J. (1999). A test of value congruence effects. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 20, 1175-1198.

Kristof-Brown, A. L., Zimmerman, R. D. & Johnson, E. C. (2005). Consequences of individual’s fit at work: A meta analysis of person-job, person-organisation, person-group, and person-supervisor fit. Personnel Psychology, 58, 281-342.

Verquer, M.L., Beehr, T.A., & Wagner, S.H. (2003). A meta-analysis of relations between person-organisation fit and work attitudes. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 63, 473-489.

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