Look for the Right Fit

Ask any applicant that I interview and they’ll tell you that I talk a great deal about looking for “the right fit.”  (I don’t make it a rule to talk too much during an interview, of course, interviews are about getting the applicant to talk as much as you can).  But the one thing I want a possible candidate to walk away with when they leave my office or conference room is this:  Is this the right fit?  I often say tell them that “If it’s not the right fit then move on.”

Seems harsh to say in an interview, but it gets the point across.  I want an applicant to think about their needs in a job and company.  Too often I hear the words “I’m just looking for a job.”  That philosophy won’t fly… and it won’t get you hired. At least not by me.

“The Right Fit” is a philosophy I use in my own career goals.  In looking at my own past experiences and different jobs (gasp! I’ve worked at 7 different places in my 12 years of career growth), the 7 different place I’ve worked only two of them were over a year of employment.

Why is that?

Cause I knew they weren’t the right fit.  I had needs and goals that I wanted fulfilled and in some cases I wasn’t willing to compromise on those.  So when I found a place that wasn’t “The Right Fit” I simply verbalized it (to give my employer an opportunity to address those needs) and went elsewhere to seek my fame and fortune.

“Well, what is The Right Fit?”, you ask?  That can be a difficult thing to answer.  Each employee has different needs and those needs can change as employment progresses.  What’s important isn’t what they are, but instead, how to get them.

My recommendation is that for any person seeking out a new job, career path, or simply trying to decipher if the current role fits, should do the following:
1.  Make a list of things you require from your job.  Examples can be: salary requirements,  benefits, more praise, flexible work schedule, an office setting, a different field, a company with more than 100 employees, etc. It can be as detailed or as ambiguous as you see fit.
2.  Go through each requirement and determine whether your current employer provides those things.
3.  Next prioritize those things from highest priority to lowest.
4.  Review this list and start asking yourself whether you’re in the right place.  Does your current job/position fulfill your requirements?  Are there any areas of compromise? What are the areas that are not being fulfilled?

Next step?  Talk to your employer.  It can be in your performance evaluation, a one-on-one meeting you request, or more formally in a memo or e-mail.  The point is, your employer needs to know your wants and needs.  So that they can attempt to fulfill them.  The methods on how to do this, how to approach it, how to initialize it… is for another blog post. 😉

If your employer can’t fulfill those needs, chances are you’ll go looking fro another job.

When you go looking for a job, bring this list with you.  Ask those questions.  And you may be saying, “But if I ask about ‘flexible work schedule’, they may think I’m not a hard worker!” and that’s a legitimate concern.  Refer to my previous post about Being Honest.  Once you’ve found a company you like, or a job position that feels right, take out that list.  Review your list and determine (your best estimation) whether this new company/position will fulfills those requirements.

And here’s the caveat – the list will change!  As your life changes (having a baby!) or your career goals change (wanting to be a manger), you’ll have different needs.  Be self-aware enough to know what your needs are and most importantly  – be brave enough to verbalize those needs.

Once you land that job that is “The Right Fit” – you’ll find that you’ll tell yourself, “I get paid to do this!?!” and that’s worth it’s weight in gold.

HR Manager’s Perspective:  
If your an HR person or recruiter, ask yourself if you are truly giving the applicant a clear indication of what “the right fit” means.  Many times we’re eager to hire that we overlook a long term option.  Giving a clear, honest outlook of the job role helps the applicant to decide for themselves if they’re interested.  Make sure you discuss the following: 
 – office culture
 – expectations
 – career development options (if any)
 – an honest summary of supervision
 – company ethics

2 thoughts on “Look for the Right Fit

  1. do you think it's possible to assess \”fit\” by gut and gut only? it seems pretty squishy to me. can you justify to the EEOC that the candidates you rejected were rejected because of \”fit\”? i think fit is really important, but how we assess it, measure it, quantify it, document it, and apply it consistently is pretty important.

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  2. Wonderful observation and point, Charlie. I agree that due diligence is absolutely a necessity, and I'm not indicating to \”replace\” the standards with a \”gut\” feeling. It is my hope that HR Manager's screen and process applicants based upon SKAs.\” In my recruiting process I use Skill Matrixes for Skills, behavioral interviewing and many other methods to determine the best candidate. As discussed above, an HR Manager should be discussing things like corporate culture, company values, expectations, career development, and giving the applicant a clear indication of what the \”squishy\” is. Then the APPLICANT can make he determination of \”the right fit.\” What's important is having the discussion with the applicant, being open with them in pre-employment and during employment. Allow them to decide if they \”fit.\”

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