As the tech ecosystem flourishes in Asia, more and more companies are beginning to recruit employees with a crucial but admittedly challenging metric: culture-fit. It’s one of those things where you know it when you see it. Even if a prospective hire ticks all the boxes in terms of education and experience, if you do not see them getting along with your existing team, you will probably not extend an offer. To reverse the term: They will not fit your culture.
Culture-fit, too, is not a matter of good or bad. Companies, after all, are made up of people, and so the collective culture they spring up will vary wildly. Some company cultures will be formal and hierarchical. Others will be casual and flat. Still, others will be more familiar, where people like to mix work with their personal lives. None of these approaches is wrong — the only time it would be wrong is if a company rushes to hire someone who is clearly not a culture fit.
Hiring someone who is a poor culture-fit will fill the vacant position, but it will cost the company in the long run. As anyone who has worked at a company in Asia can tell you, this person may have a harder time getting along with others, and it could even poison the entire culture. Any value they bring to the company in terms of their actual work would not be worth how they shift the company dynamic, or at worst, make people dread coming into the office. In the end, the person will leave sooner than later, and the company will have to hit the recruiting trail again to find the right person they should have gotten in the first place, who is both qualified and a culture-fit.
How, then, do companies in Asia solve the challenge of culture-fit? A person can have a great resume or LinkedIn profile, after all, but strike you as someone who will clearly not get along with your current team members once you actually bring them in for an interview. Since interviewing someone who is not a culture-fit cost the company money and time, this style of blind recruiting is quickly going out of fashion.
The emerging field of social recruiting aims to improve and expedite this process. To explain social recruiting, it’s best to look at it from the perspective of current employees of a particular company. An average user on Facebook has an average of 600 plus friends. Most of these will resemble him, as they are part of the same network. They may have attended the same school, worked together at a previous organisation, or even belong to the same professional organisations.
Because of your shared background, they would have a much greater chance of thriving in your current organization. Unfortunately, most people would ignore this opportunity, as they are not accustomed to leveraging their social network for recruiting. Some platforms in the west help them do so, such as Jobvite, Greenhouse, and Bullhorn Reach, which help them share job posts to friends, but these platforms are generally geared to western companies and employees.
The elegance of two-sided solutions
The first notable company in Asia to emerge in the social recruiting space is Recruitday. Founded by Joel Garcia in 2017 and backed by local VC firm Future Now Ventures, Recruitday advances what it calls social + referral recruiting. Rather than just give people the ability to share job posts on social media, it incentivizes them to do so by enabling companies to offer cash rewards that they can earn by referring candidates. Companies can set rewards at different parts of the recruiting process — such as short-listing or accepting a job offer – that “scouts” can track via their own dashboard.
To look at it from another way, Recruitday addresses the pressing issue of recruiting, and it does so by tapping into unutilised capacity. You may be familiar with the term unutilised capacity from the sharing economy – ride-sharing platforms, for example, use the unutilised capacity of cars by putting them on the road when they would otherwise be idle in a garage or parking lot.
The same principle applies to Recruitday, only the company leverages the utilised capacity of people. Full-time employees looking up to fill their after-hours, freelancers who want to pick up more work in between clients, and stay-at-home-parents who wish to earn while not attending to their child can all serve as scouts. Companies get top candidates who are more likely to be a culture-fit, and scouts augment their income.
The company, in short, empowers one talent pool to vet another talent pool, which other business leaders in Asia should look to as both a case study and as a challenge: How else might we solve two problems with a single solution?
This kind of elegance in problem-solving can apply not just to the recruiting space, but to any two-sided market with less than optimal efficiency. Founders just need the creativity and foresight to see where the two sides of the marketplace can fit together jigsaw-like to create a new and much stronger whole.
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