Are employers looking for friendships rather than qualifications when hiring?

hand shakeA study in the December issue of the American Sociological Review suggests that some employers would rather hire someone they could be friends with, rather than finding an individual who is best suited for the job. Of course, it’s necessary to hire someone with an adequate skill set in order to effectively do the job, but employers are also looking for people they can connect with on more than just a professional level.

The perfect candidate can be hard to find and not everyone possesses certain attributes that an employer desires. Employers should not only consider if the individual is qualified on a professional level, but also if they are a fit with the organizations culture.

The author of the study, Lauren A. Rivera, explains that this particular study does not infer employers are hiring unqualified people, but her findings do demonstrate that employers have a tendency to hire individuals that have similar qualities to someone they could see themselves “hanging out” with from time to time. According to Rivera, there’s an uncanny similarity between those who are ready to take the plunge in a personal relationship and those they are hiring. When people are ready to date or marry, they first consider their similarities and what they have in common.  Do you have the same level of education? Did you go to a similar caliber school? Do you enjoy similar activities? Are you excited to talk to each other? Do you feel the spark? Is there chemistry between the two of you? She states, “These types of things are salient at least to the employers I’ve studied.”

Every employer is different and has different beliefs on what they would consider a good fit culturally for the job they’re looking to fill.  A candidate needs to go into an interview with the thought that not only should they be prepared to answer technical questions, but also see if they are the right fit culturally for the job. A person is more likely to be successful and perform beyond their expectations if they’re not only happy with their job, but also the individuals in their surrounding environment.

Although, qualifications are an asset an employer looks for on a resume, it may be a more difficult sell convincing them that you’re an ideal fit for their culture.

About TRC Staffing Services, Inc.

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