City Research Online

Matching Candidates to Culture: How Assessments of Organisational Fit Shapes the Hiring Process

Tholen, G. ORCID: 0000-0001-6439-5046 (2023). Matching Candidates to Culture: How Assessments of Organisational Fit Shapes the Hiring Process. Work, Employment and Society, doi: 10.1177/09500170231155294


Organisational fit represents a crucial criterion in the hiring process. This article aims to understand how employers and external recruitment consultants define and apply organisational fit in professional labour markets, such as engineering, marketing, and finance. It also investigates how the use of organisational fit in hiring can lead to social bias within these labour markets. It relies on semistructured interviews with 47 external recruitment consultants who assist employers in these sectors. The article draws on Relational Inequality Theory to demonstrate how hiring managers and consultants use organisational fit to create and justify boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable candidates. Claim-making supports the rationalisation and legitimisation in the exclusion of groups of candidates. The article critically informs HRM, business and psychology literature that perceive organisational fit as a largely benign criterion for recruitment. It also extends sociological and critical management literature by delineating three main exclusionary mechanisms in matching candidates for organisational fit.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages ( Request permissions for this article.
Publisher Keywords: employers, exclusion, hiring, inequality, labour markets, organisational fit, recruiters, recruitment consultants
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of 09500170231155294.pdf]
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (130kB) | Preview
[thumbnail of Matching candidates to culture final (1).pdf] Text - Accepted Version
This document is not freely accessible due to copyright restrictions.


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login