Hiring: What’s an “Ideal Fit”?

By Kristen Harris, EO Columbus member and Co-Founder of Portfolio Creative

In hiring it’s important to remember people are not commodities, individuals are not interchangeable. Even with equal skills or experience, every person is unique, and so is every company and role. It’s important to find the right person for the right position—that’s an Ideal Fit.

Imagine this scenario: you’ve interviewed two candidates for a position on your team. They are equally qualified from an experience and skills set perspective.

Candidate A is an ambitious go-getter who wants to constantly improve things and often questions the status quo.

Candidate B is complacent, likes routine, and doesn’t question rules, challenge assumptions or make a lot of suggestions.

So, who do you choose? Wait a minute…before you answer that, you should know more about the role.

It’s in a government agency, helping people fill out and file three different forms, using a fairly outdated computer system. This role serves the public, and the people being helped come from all walks of life; some have special needs and require a high level of patience. The role isn’t expected to change much, and there’s little opportunity for advancement, growth or development.

Now, which candidate would you choose? While they may be equally qualified on paper, you got to know their personalities in your in-person interviews. Candidate A would be frustrated in this role, trying to improve things, questioning the rules, pushing for better technology, and hoping for advancement that never comes. For the same reasons, Candidate B could be an Ideal Fit for this role. They’re more comfortable accepting things as they are, working within a system, and don’t mind doing the same thing repeatedly. They could find it rewarding to be the person who helps others navigate a bureaucratic process.

To find an Ideal Fit, it’s important to assess the traditional areas of skill set and experience, as well as soft skills and how they align with your culture.

A client recently said to me, “this resume looks fine…I mean, they seem to have the right experience, but that’s just on paper. I know you’ve met them, and there’s so much more to someone than what’s on their resume.”

Exactly. There’s so much more than what’s on paper—both a candidate’s resume and a company’s job description. To find an Ideal Fit for both sides, you have to dig deeper. You don’t just want to fill a void, you really want someone who is a good fit, and vice versa.

Before you start assessing candidates, answer these questions:

  • What’s the culture of your company or team?
  • What industry are you in, and how that does it affect your culture?
  • Who are your clients? What specific needs do they have or type of service do they expect?
  • Are you growing? If so, how quickly? How will that affect this role?
  • What soft skills are important to your team? What are your values?
  • What soft skills are important in this role? What makes other people in this role successful (or not)?
  • How much opportunity is there for growth or development in your company? In this specific role?
  • What’s your managerial style? What do you expect from people who report to you?

When you hire someone you’re not just filling an empty seat, you’re committing to them and they’re committing to you.

Knowing yourself and company better, what you really need, and what type of person would be successful in the role helps identify an Ideal Fit. Putting the right person together with the right company is critical for long-term success.

This article was originally published on Portfolio Creative’s blog on 20 April, 2017, and has been reprinted here with the author’s permission.

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Categories: Hiring Human Resources

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