Hiring-How to Assess A Candidate’s Fitness

Finding candidates with the right ‘fit’ is increasingly important to companies. In a recent Recruiters World poll, recruiters ranked fit as the #1 quality companies look for in a new hire — this above skills, credentials, and overall intelligence. Though fit is clearly an important characteristic, it is also very difficult to measure.

Having assisted clients from a variety of industries, Pat Hanna has established a strong reputation for providing personalized services to match unique client needs. So why is fit so important? Hiring candidates that ‘fit’ simply makes good business sense.

Employees that do not fit stand to diminish a company’s return on human capital. Ill-suited candidates can cause disruptions, leading to stress in the workplace and ultimately jeopardizing company performance. Compare this to the potential rewards of building a dynamic, cohesive team that shares common values and a common vision. Groups with natural synergy work better together and produce more.

As a result, building and nurturing teams with good fit is one of the best things a manager can do to enhance a company’s prospects for success. According to Pat Hanna, recruiters that rely on pure skill-based hiring miss many layers of candidate assessment. However, identifying candidates that do fit requires some homework.

Before you create a hiring strategy, it is important to first understand the culture, goals, and work style of the group you’re recruiting for. A recruiter can never collect too much data. Examine everything from training materials, performance expectations, and job descriptions to learn about the organization and why it hires the people it does. Once you have collected sufficient data, build a profile of the ideal candidate and circulate it back to interested parties for feedback.

Tweak and develop this profile as you move along. Once you have a candidate profile in place, it’s time to reach out to candidates. Interviews and correspondence with the candidate should be
deliberately directed toward “bringing the person out of the resume,” according to Hanna. Interviews can also give recruiters insight into credentials, experience, personal style, values, and logical reasoning skills. Hanna especially emphasizes the importance of “getting people to open up, be honest, and talk about their successes and failures.” When filling a management position, find out if the applicant has leadership qualities. Can they motivate others to achieve their goals?

After the first group of interviews, lead a debriefing session with others involved in the assessment process. This will give you valuable feedback about the strengths and weaknesses of your recruiting approach. It is not uncommon to not find the right fit after a first round of interviews, especially if you have not recruited for the group before. Not only is it difficult to read hiring expectations, but managerial preferences also change.

After interviewing a few people, the group might decide they want someone with different qualities and credentials than originally outlined. If you are lucky enough to find the right fit on first try, remember that fit extends beyond in-depth interviews. Credential verification and solid reference-checking should also be conducted. Great recruiters have always known the importance of finding the right fit.

Fit is the ‘x factor’ that creates truly successful placements. Today’s companies also recognize the importance of fit and are increasingly bringing this element into the hiring equation. Recruiters can add value by applying a cohesive, collaborative framework to help organizations leverage fit in the recruitment process. Working to find the right fit creates a win-win situation for the candidate and the company, as well as for the recruiter. Recruiters that consistently deliver exceptional talent stand to develop strong professional reputations that can translate into success in the industry.