Fit (as a fiddle)

Feminist philosophers paying attention to what happens when hiring decisions in academic philosophy are made on the basis of “fit”, and/or a presumed knack for spotting “talent”, may find some of the research cited in this op ed by Lauren Rivera (author of Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs) to be of interest.

Class-based definitions of fit are one reason investment banks, management consulting firms and law firms are dominated by people from the highest socioeconomic backgrounds. Also, whether the industry is finance, high-tech or fashion, a good fit in most American corporations still tends to be stereotypically masculine.

“Don’t similar people work better together?” Yes and no. For jobs involving complex decisions and creativity more diverse teams outperform less diverse ones. Too much similarity can lead to teams that are overconfident, ignore vital information and make poor (or even unethical) decisions.

Perhaps most important, it is easy to mistake rapport for skill. Just as they erroneously believe that they can accurately tell when someone is lying, people tend to be overly confident in their ability to spot talent. Unstructured interviews … are notoriously poor predictors of job performance.