Distinguishing round from square pegs : understanding hiring based on pre-hire language use
- Sarah Kathryn Stein.
- [Stanford, California] : [Stanford University], 2018.
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|3781 2018 S||In-library use|
- Cultural compatibility at the hiring stage can forecast an individual's post-hire productivity. However, it is difficult to measure reliably in the selection process. As a consequence, cultural matching is often subject to various informational and identity-based biases. We develop a language-based model that provides a means for directly assessing job candidates' cultural similarity. Based on variegated data from a mid-sized technology firm---including job applicants' free text responses at the pre-hire stage, applicant characteristics, applicant-interviewer assignments, and hiring outcomes---we find that linguistic similarity with previously hired employees increases a job candidate's chances of being hired, even after controlling for the applicant's human and social capital. In addition, we show that hired candidates differ meaningfully from their not hired counterparts on a number of cultural dimensions including: (1) their focus on job characteristics vs. cooperation/teamwork, (2) their interest in outdoors activities---particularly camping, hiking, and biking, and (3) their attention to broad, abstract ideological concerns vs. narrow, concrete ones. Finally, we leverage our access to employee email communications to investigate the link between hired candidates' recreational pursuits and the leisure activities that are enjoyed by members of the hiring organization. Ultimately, we find robust evidence of cultural matching; the most discussed hobbies within the organization are also those that most strongly predict hiring.
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- Submitted to the Graduate School of Business.
- Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2018.
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