Culture Fit is Bogus – Recruiters Reveal What Really Matters in STEM

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In today’s dynamic STEM landscape, top talent is in high demand. But with so much competition for the best jobs, navigating the recruitment process can feel overwhelming. Enter the recruiter, a figure often shrouded in mystery. Are they there to genuinely help you, or simply fill a quota? Are they obsessed with finding the perfect “culture fit,” potentially overlooking your true potential? Weeding through these misconceptions is crucial to forming a successful partnership with a recruiter. In this blog post, we’ll shed light on the realities behind common myths, including the black box of “culture fit,” the dreaded one-size-fits-all interview, and that ever-elusive “skills gap.” By debunking these myths, we’ll empower you to approach your job search with confidence and forge valuable relationships with recruiters who can become trusted advisors in your career journey.

The Black Box of “Culture Fit.”

We’ve all heard it, the dreaded “culture fit.” But in fast-paced, innovative sectors like STEM, culture isn’t static. How do you help candidates and companies see beyond surface-level “fit” and understand the potential for co-creation and growth within a dynamic environment? 

“…To move beyond superficial assessments, we actively arrange follow-up calls with our clients when introducing candidates. In these conversations, we provide in-depth insights into each candidate, articulating the reasons behind their suitability for the role beyond what is apparent from the resume alone.”

Mark Moller, Team Lead, Engineering

“I try and really understand what is important to candidates and how they work best to help coach them on identifying the right type of company. Someone who is looking for opportunities that are going to be fast-paced, offer a lot of opportunities for fast career mobility, and cross-team collaboration may never have thought that they would thrive really well in a start-up to mid-sized company. I tend to focus on motivators and drivers with candidates and clients to ensure we’re finding a strong match vs. a fit.

Athena Parker, Recruiting Manager, Science & Clinical

“…I try to ask managers ‘what makes this position appealing to candidates?’ or ‘what are the goals your company is looking to achieve by filling this position?’ This helps candidates visualize themselves contributing to a greater purpose and shining beyond just completing day-to-day tasks. I have learned candidates want to feel their job is important and they are not just a placeholder. They are excited to contribute to society and put their education to use.”

 – Dana Foshee, Scientific Recruiter, Science & Clinical

The Skills Gap Mirage

The industry screams about a “skills gap,” but is it really a gap, or a mismatch in expectations? How do you bridge the communication gap and help companies see beyond traditional requirements to discover talent with transferable skills and the potential to grow?

“…Candidates are recognizing they don’t need to stay with the same company or job for 30 years like they did in generations before them. They acknowledge that they have talents and passions that they want to explore and it’s no longer climbing the corporate ladder that gives them purpose. That’s why it’s my job to be their advocator where hiring managers may deem them overqualified or inexperienced. Highlighting why they are interested in this position beyond it being a paycheck is my responsibility and I am aware of the influence I hold.”

Dana Foshee, Scientific Recruiter, Science & Clinical

“…I stand by our approach of organizing follow-up calls with our clients to delve into the skills of our talent further. Resumes, while valuable, only capture a fraction of the story. By facilitating discussions with our clients, we aim to shed light on the additional skills that may not be immediately evident on a resume. Our goal is to encourage our clients to look beyond the surface and truly understand the candidates, envisioning how their diverse skill set could be applied to various opportunities in the future. This strategy not only enhances the current recruitment process but also broadens our clients’ perspective on the potential and versatility of the candidates we present.”

Mark Moller, Team Lead, Engineering

The Future of Recruiting: Is AI Friend or Foe?

Automation, AI, the gig economy – the future of work is changing fast. How do you see the role of the recruiter evolving in this landscape, and how will you remain a trusted advisor and advocate for both talent and companies in the years to come?

“…Recruiting roles will continue to become less transactional and more consultative. Recruiters will become expert advisors on a vast number of topics such as labor market trends, emotional intelligence, DEI initiatives, and a key influence in hiring and building great teams at their organizations.  

Athena Parker, Recruiting Manager, Science & Clinical

“…I acknowledge the evolution of recruiting with the integration of new AI tools; however, I firmly believe in the enduring importance of the “human element” in this field. Cultivating personal relationships with candidates, clients, and decision-makers, and positioning oneself as a trusted advisor and market expert, remains invaluable. I am committed to consistently building and nurturing relationships on both sides, ensuring that Kelly remains the preeminent name in the staffing industry for years to come. This dedication to the human aspect of recruiting is integral to our continued success and reputation in the industry. 

Mark Moller, Team Lead, Engineering

“…As technology advances and automation and AI rapidly transform the recruiting landscape it’s important to maintain the human experience where possible. I pride myself on offering my own unique perspective for both talent and companies that no other recruiter or technological platform can provide. I provide tips and examples from my own recruiting experience that only I have gained by being in this hands-on role.”

Dana Foshee, Scientific Recruiter, Science & Clinical

The future of STEM is dependent on forging strong connections and fostering an environment where both talent and companies can thrive. By moving beyond the limitations of “culture fit” and focusing on shared values, transferable skills, and a passion for growth, recruiters can become your strongest ally in navigating the ever-evolving job market. So, ditch the fear of being just a number. Embrace the opportunity to partner with a recruiter who becomes your advocate, helping you not just land a role, but a fulfilling career path within a dynamic and inspiring STEM environment.

Want more information on how Kelly can work with you to support your career in STEM? Explore the roles we’re actively recruiting for now, or join our talent pool to submit your credentials to our recruiters without applying for a specific job. 

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