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What Does “Hiring for Fit” Even Mean?

So many employers and team managers today are caught up in the buzz of wanting to build a positive workplace culture. And they should be!

They know that hiring for “fit” is paramount in their pursuit of a positive and profitable workplace.Unfortunately, when pressed, many leaders will admit that they don’t really know what hiring for ‘fit” even means, much less how they can go about doing it effectively.

When we say that we want someone to fit our culture, we really mean that we want their attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, and values to mesh with the traditions of our specific workplace. These attributes make up a workplace culture, and when someone operates too far outside of the workplace cultural norms, they are deemed a poor fit.

Sadly, most employers go on the “feel” of a prospective employee instead of doing the necessary groundwork to identify their workplace culture and look for a candidate who matches. Mistaking “feeling right” for fit can lead to a mismatch.

Please know that I AM a fan of leaders trusting their intuition and gut feelings. This is a valuable component of emotional intelligence required of all good leaders. But in this case, employers often say they feel good about a candidate when they’ve met someone with personality traits like their own. Trouble arises when this process replaces a more scientific approach in finding a match.

Here are some steps you can take to make sure you are trusting your process along with your gut when you choose who gets added to your team:

The first step in hiring for “fit” is to create a deep understanding of what your culture is today and why it formed that way. It’s also important to identify any gaps in your culture that need to be filled. In other words, I recommend you do a complete cultural quality assessment. You can uncover the exact personalities that drive or dominate the culture. Are there those who are driving it doing so purposefully or maybe even by default? You will want to know.

Second, determine who the culture is shaped by, these influential personalities. Do they affect the flow of the workday? The pace of workflow? How do they affect humor or attitude?

Third, determine what their individual attitudes, behaviors, beliefs and values are and why those are the ones that driving the culture.

From this initial assessment, you will be on your way to mapping your workplace culture. Once you know what you have and what you need, you can find new employees who fit well into your traditions without causing drama or lowering productivity.