Different concepts have been created in the 20th century to allow scientists and researchers to better understand people and their behavior in groups. Some of these concepts have been created “after the fact” to describe why certain events have taken place, and researchers have then tried to merge these models into their new projects. Other have been a product of pure research effort, braking down influencing factors into various complex schemes. The concept of situational framing combines the best of both worlds, I think – it is practice-driven and manages to include a number of contributing factors which can be traced on both sides of every conversation and power dynamic.
What is the situational frame?
The situational frame is the smallest viable unit of a culture that can be analyzed, taught, transmitted, and handed down as a complete entity. Frames contain linguistic, kinesic, proxemic, temporal, material, personality, and other components. (Ed.T.Hall)
Instead of focusing solely on analyzing frames, the author had experienced the concept he spoke of in reality, and goes on to state, that these frames are also important because they can be taught and are an important part of the learning process. Modern-day filmmakers are also familiar with this concept, e.g. when key frames form the structure of an entire messages or experience – a recent example (2016).
Why is the concept of situational frames important to recruiters?
If the “smallest viable units” of culture are so small that they can be taught, or exchanged in process between people, then it is vital to understand how this transference occurs, what enables a person to learn quickly and apply the new concept. In order to do this, recruiters can take into consideration various factors such as previous experience, qualification and personality, to start with. Recruiters, we are explorers of multiple situational frames and most of them we experience simultaneously.
Of course, not only recruiters have to do with situational frames. Every person takes part in the exchange of information and interacts with others and his or her surroundings . Even antisocial personality types have their own context and situational frame, which contains the key to deciphering their personal way of living. It is just that almost nobody experiences so many situational frames with such intensity and pace as recruiters. Even sales staff targets and talks to homogeneous prospect groups instead of scattering their efforts across all target demographics.
Situational frames introduce one of the most valuable concepts in the recruitment line of work. They hold the key to understanding what transpires in modern-day companies, and are the ultimate tool for taking a rather straightforward concept – a talk, a discussion, an interaction over social media, and producing valuable insight on how well a person will do in a number of situations, specific to a company, a team, a project. So why is it that an overdressed and overzealous people are often less likely to get a job than the ones who come under-prepared? In the first case one would need to unlearn, regroup/restructure, and then learn about a situational frame in the right way, and in the latter one must restructure and simply learn something for the first time, with no trace of previous experience or emotional charge from another company or event. As emotional charges are hard to work with on an interpersonal level, many recruiters, teams respectively, will choose a candidate who is prepared to take a leap forward, and not someone who needs fine-tuning. A lot of the people managers have limited time and resource to deal with the emotional aspect of they colleagues, and the motives for seemingly strange decisions begin to emerge.
This is why situational frames are so important – they are the building blocks not just of company culture, but of the recruitment process with all possible outcomes, of the future performance of people and teams, and of the overarching context.