Why You Hire People Like You

A new study suggests that hiring managers are doing more than seeking the candidate with the best skill set or most potential for productivity. Employers also look for candidates who are culturally similar to them in terms of comparable leisure activities, experiences, and self-presentation styles.

A new study by Professor Lauren Rivera from Northwestern University argues that hiring is not simply a process of skills sorting, but also one of “cultural matching”. For example, former college athletes were more likely to interview other former athletes, Ivy-league graduates were more likely to interview other Ivy-league graduates, and one duo who both ran the New York Marathon “sparked” right away. One hiring manger suggested that he (and others) gravitated towards people who validated his lifestyle the most.

Granted, hiring mangers do interviews because they’re looking for a degree of chemistry and social skills that will fit the company, but maybe the next time you’ve put together a shortlist of candidates who all play in the same tennis club as you, you’ll think twice.

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