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A study by Lauren Rivera, an assistant professor of management and organizations in Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, has found that being likable to the hiring manager is often more important than being qualified. I knew drinking was more important than studying.
“What’s that sir? Oh, yeah, I sort of lied about my ‘expert level knowledge’ of Microsoft Excel…and about actually having an accounting degree, but if you’d like I could regale you with the story of the time I stole a policeman’s tazer on Bourbon Street and tazed his horse’s penis.”
“…interviewers often privileged their personal feelings of comfort, validation and excitement over identifying candidates with superior cognitive or technical skills.”
“…in many respects they hired in a manner more closely resembling the choice of friends or romantic partners.”
Considering that the study was done specifically at law firms, investment banks, and consulting firms, I am in no way surprised that employers were hiring people that they wanted to bang.
The majority of employers in her study described their firms as having distinct personalities that come from the hobbies and presentation styles of their employees. For instance, some firms are “sporty” and “fratty,” while others are “egghead” or “intellectual.” Rivera quotes a hiring partner at a consulting firm who says, “We want people who fit not only the way we do things but who we are.”
In other words, if you walk into a firm and one of the partners is walking around collecting money for his Global Warming Bike Ride Fundraiser, and you overhear a couple attorneys talking about their pro-bono work for a local PETA chapter, you might as well just leave.
Among law firms, investment banks and consulting firms, demand for cultural fit was most prized in law firms, where more than 70% of evaluators said “fit” was an important part of the hiring decision. At investment banks, it was important in a bit more than 60% of cases and at consulting firms, in 40% of cases.
You hear that, law students? Personality is a really important part of finding a job that doesn’t exist.
As you’re researching a firm where you might want to work, do ask questions about the culture and think about whether your personality would fit in.
It’s also important to ask questions about the culture of the office before you go in for an interview, because if you’re REALLY desperate for a job you’re going to need to know exactly which lies to tell them.
Welcome to the job market kids. It’s a fucked up, backwards place where every week is hell week until you have a job. This might be the best thing you read about it for a while.
[h/t to reader @troj23]