IT Recruiters Look at Personality Fit, Not Just Technical Skill

DEERFIELD — Ask Adam Kooperman what he does for a living and he’ll tell you he’s in the business of growing companies.

“My passion is helping build organizations through placing people who are going to be there for the long term,” said Kooperman, a veteran IT recruiter and the co-owner of CultureFit, the Deerfield-based technology staffing company he started with his wife, Karen four years ago.

Kooperman, who holds a degree in marketing and a graduate certificate in integrative marketing got into the recruiting business right after college, 18 years ago. He worked for another recruiting firm for two years, and then started his own firm, Advanced Search in 1997, a company he still owns, that focuses on contract staffing.

CultureFit gets its name from the industry term, which according to Kooperman means the personality of a potential employee, and how that matches up with the culture of the employer.

With eight recruiters including Kooperan, CultureFit is dedicated to exactly what its name means.

“Most IT staffing companies try to match the technical ability with the job order that the company is trying to fill,” said Kooperman, who has lived in Deerfield with Karen and their three children for 10 years. “Although technology skills are important, I’ve honed a methodology that involves finding a candidate that fits into the company’s culture first, and then matching up their technology skills.”

According to Kooperman, examples of a good culture fit include things like the candidate coming from the same industry, from the same size team, or from the same size organization, and candidates who are used to a similar reporting structure and corporate values.

He said when employees are comfortable in a certain culture, they will have more job satisfaction, become more successful, and stay at the company for a longer period of time.

“One company’s A player can be another company’s C player,” said Kooperman. “I’ve had average players who became superstars at another company because the organizational style brought out the best in the candidate.”

Kooperman said he learned the importance of a good culture fit from a job he had for three years while in college, working for an employee attitude survey company.

“I learned what factors make employees satisfied with their jobs,” he said. “We would see these results of these surveys and it was so much different than you’d think. Money wasn’t even a top three criteria of what makes people happy in their job.”

Kooperman explained that respect, how a person fits into the corporate environment, corporate values, the physical work environment and corporate pride were consistently top priorities for employees.

Sean Middleton is the Director of Development for Retail Services for Deerfield-based Greenway Medical Technologies, and works with Kooperman when hiring.

“They really have the knowledge of personality fit,” said Middleton. “They really take the time to understand our culture.”

“Working with Adam was very simple, meaning there was no hassle,” said Talha Ashraf, who was hired by Middleton as a Program Manager at Greenway 15 months ago through Kooperman. “I wasn’t placed on unnecessary interviews. They make sure people are aligned before they move forward.”

Kooperman said most staffing companies place a few people at thirty different clients per year, but what he’s always done is place 100 people at fewer companies.

“This way I can really learn how the company operates, how their culture evolves, and how an employee is going to be successful, not based solely on their technology skills, but rather on their interpersonal dynamic fit with the organization,” he said.

“Their knowledge of the market in Chicago is excellent,” said Middleton. “They take those extra steps to find that great fit.”