Here’s a mini case-let I’d love your views on.
This was a senior-level interview. The candidate was performing very well – he was superbly articulate with seemingly the right attitude, his experience history checked just about every box. He was amongst the top brass, in a similar role with another organisation.
Unfortunately, his current employer, though a very successful one, did not have a strong reputation in people practices and employee engagement. We had many of its employees regularly applying to us even though our compensation was lower. You’d hear the same story about toxic culture every time – from candidates, vendors and on social media.
This topic came up during the interview. He said he was aware of this, but as an employee himself, he was just toeing the line. He did not have an option to go against his senior management and had to play the game to stay successful and grow his career. So yes, the culture was unhealthy, he wasn’t happy about it, but what could he do about it!
He had grown through the ranks in this organisation and had been with them for close to a decade.
How would you have read the situation? Here are some questions to ponder upon:
- Is an employee a victim of an organisation’s culture even after choosing to be with an organisation for a decade?
- If you are a senior leader, wouldn’t some responsibility for creating or perpetuating poor practices rest on you too?
- What are the chances that a candidate well immersed in a very different culture will bring the same values and practices to yours?
- When can you distance yourself from your organisation and when can’t you? Does an organisation’s reputation rub off on a candidate?