“Holistic” Recruitment at the CIA

Posted by Carolyne Burns | November - 13 - 2016 | 0 Comment

When Forbes magazin600x400-blog-32e reported on hiring practices at the American Central Intelligence Agency, the team at Expr3ss! was intrigued to discover that the CIA’s multi-step recruitment process looks at a candidate as a whole person, according to Ron Patrick, Head of Recruitment for the agency.  This approach, known as ‘cultural fit,’ is gaining tremendous traction in the HR industry because of its importance to business success.

What Is Cultural Fit?

Cultural fit describes a circumstance where employees’ beliefs and behaviours align with their employer’s core values and company ethos.  A 2005 meta-analysis by Kristof-Brown found that employees who fit well within their organisations

  • Had greater job satisfaction
  • Had stronger alignment with their company
  • Were more likely to remain with their organisation
  • Were more committed
  • Showed superior job performance

Cultural fit is difficult to assess, as it largely depends on a candidate’s compatibility with the organisation’s values and the way it operates.  Expr3ss! provides customers with a free cultural survey and then customises its matching algorithm to reflect business needs.

When Time Is of the Essence

A downside to the CIA’s thoroughness in recruiting, admits Patrick, is that it takes longer to recruit and get someone on board in this highly specialised government agency.  “Every year, we update the skill set we look for based on where we think the CIA needs to be five years or ten years out,” he explains.

In the private sector, Expr3ss!’ predictive hiring technology helps businesses quickly and cost-effectively match and pinpoint applicants with the right skills, attitudes and cultural fit for an organisation. Our unique, customised-to-your-business matching algorithm ensures that our customers find top candidates with can-do skills along with will-do attitudes.

5 Questions CIA Recruiters Want Answered

It may surprise you to learn that the questions CIA recruiters pose during a typical interview are quite simple and straightforward. Among them:

  • Why do you want to work for the CIA?
  • Tell me about the expectations that will be asked of you by working at the CIA.
  • Share an example from your recent professional or educational experience where you successfully navigated an ambiguous situation.
  • Please describe an example of a time you were in a leadership role and failed.  What were the lessons learned and your subsequent change of behaviour?
  • In what ways have you recently or do you now currently serve others?

“The interviewer helps the applicant share the abilities and skills they have to the best of their ability.  We’re not there to trip an applicant up, but to make sure the CIA is a good fit for them and they are a good fit for the CIA,” says Patrick.

Expr3ss! customers, on the other hand, benefit from the unique Behavioural Interview Guide created for each applicant that helps flesh out a potential employees’ beliefs and behaviours and how they align with th e customer’s core values and company ethos.

There’s nothing top secret about the CIA’s hire to-fit recruitment strategies.  If you’d like to discuss your corporate culture and its impact on employee satisfaction and productivity, we invite you to contact Expr3ss! to learn how our innovative software solutions can help you find your next great hire.