So, That Candidate Seems the Right Fit For the Job. But Is the Job Right For Him/Her?
A Note From The Editor
Think your company has what it takes to make our Top Company Cultures list? Apply now.Apply now »
Finally. The long-awaited perfect candidate’s application just popped up in your inbox.
The resume is pristine; each experience listed ties in neatly with the job description; and this person seems to have the personality to match. You'd be crazy to think that he or she is anything but the best option for this position -- right?
Nope, not according to Nicole Wipp, CEO of Wipp Enterprises, an entrepreneur and small business solution consultancy headquartered in Detroit. After only months into making what she thought was the perfect hire for one particular job, Wipp realized that the new employee was showing ed signs of low morale.
“This woman started out strong; her work was amazing. The rest of the team and clients loved her,” the CEO told me in an email. “But, over time, I started noticing a change. She was no longer as enthusiastic, and while she was still friendly, her demeanor toward team members and clients was cool, instead of warm and welcoming like it had been before.”
Wipp took the employee aside and quickly realized that the highly structured position she was in was making her miserable.
“The reality was, she couldn't do that kind of work day in and day out. It ground her down, eroded her mental and emotional energy and burned her out,” Wipp continued. With this realization, she said, she uncovered the fact that even though the employee was well equipped to do the job, it simply wasn’t a healthy fit for her.
The flip side of employee fit, therefore -- knowing the job is a right fit for employees -- gets overlooked more frequently than most would like to admit.
Maybe it's time for your company to start looking at employee fit from a 360- degree view:
Be confident in what makes a good fit.
Confident entrepreneurs have a natural knack for keeping their eyes on the prize. However, when this determination meets the recruiting function, it’s easy to get wrapped up in quality talent and forget what type of employee excels on the team.
Amy Perrone, founder of Create Your Destiny in Beverly Hills, Calif., experienced the detrimental effects of this type of hiring first-hand. She remembers looking for a job and subsequently taking a stockbroker job because it seemed like an offer one shouldn’t refuse. But, then, the realization struck: Success in a career doesn’t always equate to the right fit.
“Once I learned how to do the job, I was bored," Perrone shared. "Looking back, it's clear that it was a bad fit. I need variety, and it was essentially doing the same thing over and over.”
From her experience, Perrone found that compensation, title, and responsibilities were just the minimum criteria when it comes to job fit. “Fit is determined by comparing the candidate's personal brand and culture with the culture of the company's department and hiring managers,” she said.
If you're up against this conundrum, get the process started by first defining your company’s culture and brand. Make a list of what makes the company unique, what traits make individuals successful in their positions and why the team works so well together.
Run this list by the entire team, and ask for any suggestions or edits. Once all have given their input, start using this as a guideline for qualified candidates to find those traits that will match perfectly with the job, and vice versa.
Know how your company compares.
Omer Molad, CEO and cofounder of Vervoe, a recruiting tool based on merit, not resumes, in Melbourne, Australia, didn’t consider the impact his fast-paced start-up would have on certain candidates. “We hired someone with all the right skills, a good attitude and solid references, but there was one thing missing,” Molad explained via email.
It turns out that that one thing missing was arguably the most crucial qualification: the ability to thrive in the chaos of an early-stage startup.
“Pre-launch startups are a roller-coaster. During the hiring process, we didn’t do enough to determine whether our new hire would thrive in the chaos of an early-stage startup,” Molad continued.
Molad said that he and his team learned that not every company, at every stage, will be right for every candidate. To ensure fit, be clear about where your company stands now, where it’s headed and what type of employees can handle those situations.
Review their work history, not just for experiences, but also the types of companies they worked for. Were they large or small? Were they fully established or startups? If leaders find that candidates were part of something different, those leaders need to explain in detail what type of motivation and personality it takes to work on their team.
Ask departing staffers specific questions about the role.
Exit interviews are a great way to find out what went wrong in the hiring process and to find an effective solution. This is exactly how Rafael Romis, CEO of Weberous, a web design, marketing and branding company headquartered in Los Angeles, realized he wasn’t asking enough detailed questions during interviews.
“About three years ago, we hired a woman that had everything we needed for the position of project manager. Two months after we hired her, she quit,” Romis told me. “When we conducted her exit interview, we found out she didn’t find the job creative and wasn’t at her desk all day long, as she had insinuated during her interview.”
For the project management job specifically, Romis asked the next successful candidate whether he was interested in the creative or management side of web design.
Ask candidates what drew them to the job, but then take it a step further by asking even more specific questions. Job details are often complicated and have many sides, so it’s important to always dig deeper. Discuss job history, what the candidate liked or didn’t like about those position and where he or she sees the job taking them in a few years.
Go beyond the job requirements.
Some candidates will need more than what a company’s role offers -- even if they have the right skills and experiences. Peter Yang, co-founder of ResumeGo, an online resume-writing service in New York City, discovered this after hiring a resume writer who seemed like a perfect fit.
“We had her for about six months, but she eventually left us because she didn't get the same type of satisfaction working with job seekers online that she did with students in person,” Yang wrote.
Of course, meeting job requirements is an important part of the hiring process, but it shouldn’t be the end all-be all. Every employee desires a different amount of interaction with co-workers and customers.
Related: How to Avoid Hiring a Psychopath
So, next time, do this: Get to the bottom of candidates’ values, goals and work-relationship styles before committing to the hire.