Just as Goldilocks searched for the bed that was “just right” in the home of the three bears, many employers seek out that “just right” candidate to fill a position within their team – in other words, a candidate that is a fit for the job and the organization.
While technical skills and abilities are important for success within a role, the concept of “fit” is important for success within an organization. No matter their skills, employees who aren’t a good fit may be less engaged in their jobs and ready to jump ship at the first opportunity. That’s why gauging fit is a crucial aspect of hiring employees.
Here are a few factors to consider when assessing whether a candidate fits within your organization, as well as tips to keep in mind for finding that perfect fit before, during, and after your interview process.
Tailor your interview questions to the position
As easy as it is to fall into the habit of using the same old questions for interviews, asking the right questions is almost as important as the responses elicited. By tailoring your interview questions to the specific position you are seeking to fill, you are increasing the likelihood of finding the right fit for your company. Here are some sample questions to use as a starting point:
What to ask: What does it mean to be a team player? Or, alternatively, are you a leader or a follower?
What you'll learn: Can the candidate lead your team? Will they fit comfortably within your existing one? If the role requires a higher level of leadership, the candidate should have a clear vision of where they want to go with a project or role, have discipline and have a strong set of values. If the position works closely with an individual or team, knowing how to divide and conquer and communicate effectively will be paramount to the team’s success.
Tip: More covert indicators of a great team player include being a member of clubs, sports teams,or volunteer organizations. Were they the president of their college debate team? Swim team captain? Did they often take leadership roles in group or team projects? If so, further consideration of a leadership position could be worthwhile.
What to ask: What are two of your core values, and why?
What you'll learn: Do the candidate’s values align with the company’s values? CEO and communication expert Robert L. Dilenschneider points out that having a long list of values can bring on a lack of focus. Instead, he recommends focusing on one or two points, such as his cornerstones: integrity, accountability, diligence, perseverance and discipline. For example, if your candidate lists discipline as one of their values, can they clearly demonstrate a situation where this value has served them well?
What to ask: Tell me about a time when a major disruption or change arose during a project. How did you handle the situation and what was the outcome?
What you'll learn: When hiring, look at a candidate’s ability to adapt in addition to their job experience. Can the candidate deal with a problem faced by employees in this position in the past, but also handle new, unforeseen challenges? Will they thrive in a busy environment, yet be innovative during slower periods?
Tip: Having the candidates carry out a practical task, such as doing a presentation or preparing a report, is a great way of showing whether their bark is bigger than their bite or if they really do have the chops to fit the position. Even if their style of presentation is not a perfect fit for your company yet, and they may not have perfect knowledge of the organization, it will indicate whether or not they have the attributes to adapt quickly in a high-pressure situation.
More Ways to Identify Fit
What are they asking you?: Having your interviewee ask plenty of questions throughout the interview process is a sign that they are focused and engaged. The specific types of questions (such as “why do you like working for ____”, or “what is the office culture like?”) can open up the conversation further to more conversational areas outside of the questions asked, which can also be used as indicators of a good fit.
Don't skip reference checks: What do the candidate’s past employers say about them? Were they always punctual? Did they often miss work? Did they have conflicts with other employees? Were they loved by everyone? These reference check questions, among others, are all vital to your decision-making process. While a candidate may make a great impression on you, past behavior is the best indicator for their potential future with your organization.