Since we do a lot of work in the area of assessing organizational culture, the notion of ‘hiring for fit’ is a common topic. It’s also one in which we strongly believe in, yet we find organizations often using the wrong context when trying to apply this concept.
There are three common mistakes we find most often.
Mistake #1. The notion of whether someone is a right fit is localized to the hiring manager. They often choose the context of “Is this someone I relate to or will get along well with”. Certainly this is an important factor, but as we’ll discuss, it’s not the right context.
Mistake #2. The candidate aligns well with the organizations current political and social environment.
Mistake #3. The candidate is viewed through the lens of a very short term pain point. Namely, there is a specific project need or skill set that this person can make an immediate impact on.
Wait, Why Are These Mistakes?
Each of these items hardly seems like a ‘mistake’. After all, they are all important factors in a hiring decision and not negative unto themselves. However, they all share the same fatal flaw. They are based on the conditions of the organization as it stands today. The real question is “are they the right fit for the organization we are trying to be”? Virtually every organization has a series of outstanding questions or statements about the direction they are trying to move in so that they can thrive in the future. That future requires a shift in the kinds of traits that need to be prioritized (which is what we’re often helping them do with our culture assessments).
The Pull Of The Status Quo
If you only ‘hire for fit’ based upon the company as it stands today, or on some short term need then you are simply reinforcing the status quo and making the shift towards the future more difficult. To be fair to most hiring managers, most companies have either not clearly identified the gaps and traits that they need to be moving towards or they haven’t communicated that properly. That’s a problem.
Who Do You Want To Be?
All of the above ‘mistakes’ have a place in the hiring process, so we’re being a bit flippant to make a point. But the real question is whether you are ‘hiring for fit’ based on who you are today, or who you want to be tomorrow? If your organization can’t answer the question of ‘who you want to be tomorrow’ in a way that is actionable, then that’s a very good place to start.
Cheers, Matt Ridings – @techguerilla