Hiring is one of the more significant challenges that HR teams and hiring managers face.
And hiring the right fit? That may be the biggest challenge of all.
However, no one truly knows what the ‘right fit’ is, and just when leaders think they’ve found the perfect candidate, they may be surprised to learn there’s more to that person than their resume.
The hiring process is no longer as black and white as it once was. Whereas traditionally, employers sought prospective employees whose skills matched the needs and expectations of a role, nowadays organizations recognize they have to hire for fit or, at the very least, hire beyond a list of skills or experiences.
Which begs the question: what is ‘fit,’ exactly?
‘Fit’ is more about a work culture than a person’s working skills
More organizations are moving away from hiring based purely on resumes alone; that’s because skills, knowledge, hard and soft skills, and experience don’t always account for how an employee contributes to, performs, or thrives within an organization.
That’s where culture comes in.
84% of recruiters believe that culture has become a prominent factor in the selection process of prospective employees. When we say ‘culture,’ we’re referring to organizational culture, the shared set of beliefs, values, visions and behaviours that make up an organization.
When a company seeks out potential employees for specific roles, chances are those in charge of hiring (like an HR team) already have a predisposed list of qualities, characteristics and skills they expect a candidate to have - and that’s normal! After all, any role will require certain skills and knowledge to fulfill it and perform it well.
However, employers have to look beyond skill sets to determine if an individual is indeed a great fit for their company. That means looking at job applicants as more than just prospective team members. Leaders or hiring managers have to ask critical questions, such as:
- Does this individual share our company’s values and vision(s)?
- Are they passionate about what we as an organization do and achieve?
- Do they want meaning and purpose from their work or just a paycheck?
- Are they interested in what the role asks of them?
It also requires companies to showcase to prospective team members what they can expect when working for that organization.
Interestingly, LinkedIn found that one of the top obstacles for job seekers when considering a role at a company is not knowing what it’s like to work at that organization, making it doubly important for companies to present their culture, values and vision.
That may be why more businesses are moving away from rigid, top-down operational practices and focusing on building more agile, flexible work cultures to attract the best teams.
Culture is essential, but what about the company itself?
Part of developing such a culture includes fostering an environment where potential employees know they could accomplish their goals and flourish in their role. 45% of millennials report that having advancement or career development opportunities is very important when it comes to considering a position.
Despite salary expectations, most millennial workers are also likely to choose a job that allows them to grow, develop, and flex their skills over a career that supplements their income. These types of opportunities are often the number one reason why employees change jobs!
When hiring for fit, then, organizations need to bear in mind whether they can offer top-tier talent both the opportunities and culture for which they’ve been searching. You may feel your company ‘has it all,’ but what if job seekers think differently?
Does this impact whether those job seekers are a good fit for you?
While we make decisions based on both reason and emotion, more often than not, people will lead with feeling, which is why organizations have to present to prospective hires how they’ll be able to contribute to and grow within the organization.
Turns out, reputation matters
36% of job seekers admit that the reputation of a brand or company is one of the critical factors they take into account when evaluating a potential job.
Companies have to consider relevant job experience, career history, and soft skills when looking to hire the right candidates, but those same candidates are also evaluating the company.
It makes sense, then, that the reputation of that company would play a significant role in whether someone wants to work there.
For example, 78% of millennials are strongly influenced by how innovative a company is when deciding which organizations they’d like to work for, but that’s not all.
Diversity is also a deciding factor. 67% of job seekers report diversity in the workplace as an important factor when evaluating job offers and companies, which means a company’s hiring process needs to take into account inclusivity.
Not only do employees benefit from diverse work environments, but companies do, as well. Great Place To Work reported that companies that hire with inclusivity and diversity in mind report 24% greater annual revenue gains.
Wait...hiring the right employee doesn’t sound that simple!
Well, that’s true.
It’s actually kind of difficult.
People are complex; we all have different traits, strengths, personalities and goals. That both benefits and hinders the hiring process because hiring managers have to consider more than just skills - they have to consider what makes someone unique, and how that uniqueness can benefit their organization.
Netflix’s hiring approach is a perfect example of that.
More executives are following Netflix’s lead, moving towards fostering a ‘talent culture’ to build relationships, nurture engagement, and encourage knowledge sharing as well as inclusion. It’s no longer all about hiring based on skills, but hiring based on how an individual will thrive and help grow an organization.
With this in mind, it’s vital for leaders and/or hiring managers to look beyond necessary skills or role requirements and engage those that are passionate about their company, the role itself, and what they can contribute.
Consider these three simple tips when looking at potential candidates:
- Dive beneath the surface - don’t rely solely on an applicant’s resume to tell you everything about that individual! Ask them about their interests, what drew them to your organization, what their overall career goals are, and what unique skills they have that may not be apparent contributors to the role itself.
- Recruit outside your comfort zone - you may be surprised to find that many candidates from industries outside of your organization have a myriad of skills that could greatly benefit your working teams and organizational goals. Leaders should consider looking beyond their industry or network for potential hires.
- Engage your teams - instead of delegating the screening process to just one specific individual, consider engaging your teams in the process, as well. For example, if you’re hiring a new member for your marketing team, ask your existing marketers what they need help with, where they feel a new addition could contribute, and how they could help with the onboarding process.
Remember what fit is, and what it isn’t
It’s tempting to hire people based on cover letters and resumes or previous experience. It’s even more tempting to hire someone because you feel they’d get along with your other employees.
But that’s not why you should bring someone new to your team.
The average person will change jobs at least 12 times during their career. So, chances are a potential employee has already experienced various company cultures and operations by the time their application lands on your desk or in your inbox.
‘Fit’ is not strictly about your company’s values or a person’s skills, however. As a leader, you’re in a unique position to hire those who will benefit your organization, and who can benefit in turn through development, growth, learning opportunities and more.
‘Fit’ is more about finding individuals who are passionate about your company and appreciate its values. Fit is not:
- An oversight of someone’s personal values - just because someone doesn’t embody every value of your company doesn’t mean they can’t contribute or bring value to your organization.
- A willingness to devote their lives to you - it’s quite rare for people to devote their entire career to one organization (in the US, for example, the median tenure of an employee with one organization hovers around 4.2 years), so hiring someone based on whether they’re willing to devote every waking hour of their life to your company will rarely yield positive results (did someone say ‘employee burnout’?).
- A belief in leading similar lifestyles - a critical mistake that leaders can easily make is hiring someone based on a perceived lifestyle; just as you cannot judge a candidate on skills or resumes alone, hiring (or not hiring) based on what you believe their lifestyle to be, or how that lifestyle agrees with that of your own or your company’s, can be a detriment to onboarding the right fit for your team.
So, how can organizations ensure they’re hiring the right fit?
First, think of hiring a ‘match’ instead of a ‘perfect fit’
The perfect fit doesn’t exist, but a candidate may have skills, knowledge, and valuable insight which matches those of your teams, or the values of your organization.
Make your organizational culture & values as transparent as possible
Make it easy for your hiring teams or managers to find the best talent that believes in your organization by clearly presenting the culture and values which make up your company. This helps to narrow down a search to those candidates that actually care about your organizational goals and vision.
Look beyond resumes and job applications
You’ll never truly know someone and how they’ll thrive in your organization if you ‘judge’ them based solely on their resume or the contents of their job application. Ask questions, get to know the real them, and dive deeper into their goals and why they want to work for you!
Explore other industries
Do you run a tech company but have never considered applicants with banking or teaching backgrounds? They may have unique skill sets that could help grow your company, provide valuable insights, or benefit your existing teams. Don’t stick to your industry alone; consider looking outside of it for the best candidates you never knew existed!