At Long Last Love–how to think about that “fit” when interviewing

Is it Granada I see

Or only Asbury Park

Is it a fancy not worth thinking of

Or is it

At Long Last Love?

Cole Porter wasn’t writing lyrics about interviewing, but I am..

People hire their own.

Intellect helps, academic pedigree is of interest, work history often revealing, one’s looks can be compelling (or not..). When push comes to shove, people often hire those they’re comfortable with and who fit into that particular corporate environment. Nothing earth shattering in that, is there?

One of my clients liked good-looking candidates who wore high fashion clothes; one candidate was rejected for wearing a tie-clip to an interview, another for her open-toe shoes..

Another defined their culture as rather boring, all about work, little socialising or outside activities-all very nice people, just low-keyed and less sociable.

A third had a very confrontational corporate culture, lots of ‘in-your-face’ arguing, a culture of machismo (and I’m talking about the Asian offices, male and female, not global HQ). Another company had mostly Americans in senior management for many years. They would never hire from the competition, much less mention they even had competition, peppering their language with inside slang and jokes, hard for non-Americans to understand the witticisms..You can figure which sorts of candidates they gravitated towards..

Whether we label it as ‘like attracting like’, or having a preconceived notion, people often push to hire those they are COMFORTABLE with. Could be someone who is:
[list style=”circle”]

  • High energy and sociable
  • Quant or statistically-driven
  • Prolix or literate
  • All about work, rather than someone who lists outside activities
  • Sporty, with extra-curricular interests
  • [/list]

    OK, you’re thinking, so what–we know this, que pasa?

    Global companies are increasingly driven to ensure they diversify, employing more C level people worldwide who may not look like them, nor have the same social interests, background, language or presence.

    What to do? How does one hire above and beyond the corporate “fit”? What other characteristics should be prioritised?


    [list style=”circle”]
  • Temperament
  • Grace and deportment
  • Civility
  • Interest and energy
  • Willingness to learn
  • Attentive listening
  • Asking well thought questions and giving measured answers
  • Understanding what comes first, and why
  • Smart through confidence, not hubris
  • [/list]

    Obeying the Golden Rule, in other words, which always cuts across cultures and languages neatly.

    I read so many articles with tips on how to interview candidates; make them think on their feet, whiteboard a strategy, sell a pen, throw curve, rhetorical or offbeat questions–”If you were the weather what would the season be?” If you were a crime/animal/colour/food what would it be”. Oy. Let’s stick with the basics.

    Look for those with strengths you have less of, who will make you and your team stronger. That will stay with you because of a job that challenges and grows them, NOT because it pays twice as much as elsewhere, a fallacious assumption..

    Someone with your same facial features, skin colour, drawl, religion, height, or interests doth not necessarily maketh a good hire.

    Look for what you need, not what you want. Concentrate on those with drive, aptiitude, willingness, and an innate sense of knowing who they are, regardless of culture or age.

    Is It a Fancy
    This Feeling of Joy
    Or is What I Feel
    The Real


    Written by Neal Horwitz, MD of Henry Hale Maguire

    Connect with Neal

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