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Do we care too much about professionalism?

Posted by Rowan O'Grady, Hays Canada President, on Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Hays Blog: Formal vs Friendly - how professional do you need to be?So many employers and professionals tell me that personality fit matters most when a role doesn't work, but what does that actually mean? According to the new Hays Fit Report, the social behaviour mismatch is one of the key pieces of that equation, but employers and candidates say they have similar preferences for social interaction.

Are we trying to be formal and professional at work to the point that it's harming the work environment?

It is unfortunately not common to factor in things like fun or social interaction when considering a new job opportunity or a potential hire. But when asked why someone didn’t work out, both employers and candidates agree that social interaction and communication style — major components of fit — were to blame. Despite its importance, both groups also admit they wrongly assessed fit during the interview process. 

Too formal at work?
My question to you all is, could we be putting too much emphasis on professionalism as a society? Why don’t we assess whether we’ll get along socially with the person we’re about to hire, or the team we’re about to join? Is it because we’re a society that is trained to think of work as work and that time for fun is outside of the office walls?

I personally believe this is another change that’s happening in the recruitment world, where younger generations are starting to take into account the workplace environment, and where older generations tend to look to the more bricks and mortar aspects of the role.

When I'm hiring I want to know that I'll be able to socialize with someone, that we can share a joke, and that relaxed interaction also translates into an environment where people feel comfortable talking to each other about work problems - both personal and professional.

Employers: Assess the social environment
As an employer, are you leaning towards a more formal environment because that’s what you think you should do, compared to what is actually best for your team and recruitment/retention plans?

Think about whether the social environment you have created. What behavior is acceptable? Is that having a positive effect on your productivity, retention and team success? If you can foster an environment that is more suited to people’s natural style, you may be more successful in engaging and retaining top employees.

Job seekers: Try before you commit
As a candidate, if you don’t fit in, how can you enjoy work and in turn, achieve your full potential? Before you accept a job offer, meet the hiring manager, the team, and take a walk through the offices. This is how you'll gauge the work style and how well you'll fit. Trust your gut. If you don't think you'll fit in, consider how that will impact your happiness and long-term career.

Request the fit report to learn more, or watch our webinar

Talk to Rowan O'Grady, Hays Canada President, on the Canadian labour market.

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