How to Put the Right Person in the Right Role: It’s All About Fit!
How do you look beyond the typical skills and accreditations? We believe you can find the right fit when you get specific in the job description, ask the right questions, look for unique perspectives, and interview the person instead of the resume.
Written by:Tara A. Collison, Ph.D.
If you’re a hiring manager and your company is going through a period of rapid growth or dealing with sudden vacancies, it’s tempting to move through the conventional routine of hiring or promoting. The typical areas that become the focus during hiring – the contents of their resume, interview(s), and whether or not they conform to company culture. This is a great start; however it may not be enough, and it may even eventually lead to turnover.
We encourage you spend a bit more time in the hiring process to focus on the right fit. In our opinion, beyond examining skills and experiences, you’ll find that “sweet spot” at the intersection of who a person is, how they work, and what they’re excited by. It’s important to determine if this person is right for the job, but equally important is whether the job is right for the person.
So how do you look beyond the typical “briefcase” full of skills, titles, education, past jobs, and accreditations? We believe you have the opportunity to find the right fit when you get specific on the job description and what you need in the role, ask the right questions, look for unique perspectives, and interview the person instead of the resume.
In theory, a Jack or Jill of all trades is an asset, but the person with a figurative hand in everything usually hasn’t mastered one particular skill. Wouldn’t you prefer a varied team of experts?
When you craft and share a job description, do your best to avoid vagueness and nail down exactly what it is you want. If you cast too wide a net, you’ll likely end up with candidates who don’t excel at any one thing. It’s hard to find the right fit when you’re asking for it all. For example, don’t expect someone to be both a risk taker and a risk mitigator. Instead, get specific!
Ask the Right Questions
When it comes time to sit down with a job candidate, we suggest you avoid falling back on predictable questions like, ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?” At the very least, don’t allow the candidate’s answers to those questions become the determining factor in whether or not they get the job.
It’s also a good idea to limit the use standardized questions. Each position you hire for is different based on existing team members, internal issues, and company goals. First, ask yourself what the role requires of a person. Then ask yourself what kinds of problems the team currently faces. Is there a demand for a certain type of talent or perspective? For instance, maybe you already have a delegator but could use an efficient collaborator, a forward-thinking visionary, or maybe someone more single-minded motivated by creating structure? This information will help you create a list of customized questions, both situational and behavioral.
- If you’re faced with X problem, how would you solve it?
- What kind of environment do you best learn in?
- How do you cope with stress?
- What’s a common misconception people have of you?
- What do you know about X industry, and where do you think it’s headed?
- What are you excited about in this industry?
- What motivates you or drives you forward?
- How do you typically approach an interview like this and why?
Consider giving the candidate plenty of time to ask their own questions about the role and the company. You can learn a lot about a person by listening to their curiosities and concerns. Plus, the right fit should be beneficial to both the company and the candidate. The interview process goes both ways!
Look For Unique Perspectives
It’s a commonly made mistake, in our opinion, to hire someone like yourself or like the people you already have on your team. Unique experiences, backgrounds, and diversity of thought can expand a company’s perspective. There’s more opportunity for people to come up with thoughtful and creative solutions when they view the world through a different lens.
As mentioned in the section above, you may want to ask someone how they would solve a relevant problem. If they attempt to solve the problem, in the same manner, you would, perhaps that’s not the “right” answer. We encourage you to look for people who view the problem in a different light and, in turn, come up with an original solution.
Interview The Person, Not The Resume
Think about taking your candidate on a tour of the office to observe how they interact with people. You might consider taking them out to lunch with a few team members as well. See if they engage, ask questions, and contribute. Are they able to connect, integrate, make an impression, or build some sort of relationship? It’s not necessarily about finding commonalities but observing patterns of action and interaction. Even something as simple as how they treat the waiter can tell you a lot about who they are.
It’s not that we think you should dismiss the information included on the average resume, but don’t allow it to dictate your choice. Dig deeper into certain elements – old jobs, accomplishments, lessons learned – and ask thoughtful follow-up questions that reveal self-awareness and personal growth.
Hiring for fit is a multifaceted challenge, and your own methods may vary or change. There are even assessments and other tools to help make the process we outline above more systematic and based on the science of performance and relationships at work. Regardless of your desire to use assessments, we’ve discovered how asking the right questions, looking for a unique perspective, getting specific on the job description, and interviewing the person, not the resume, can land you a candidate who falls right in that “sweet spot.”
Let’s say you found the perfect fit. Now, how do you assemble a functional team comprised of the right minds, skills, talents, and personalities? Welcome to your next big puzzle! If you’re looking to build better business teams faster, learn more about how Meddlers can help you and your team. And stay tuned for our next blog on the art of building the best possible team.