Determining Work “Fit”—Is It A God Complex?

Dawn Burke Dawn Burke, Recruiting, Talent Strategy

Glory BE! The concept of “fit” is an awesome thing. The word “fit” can be used in so many ways:

  1. (Adjective) Of a suitable quality, standard, or type to meet the required purpose.
    Example: That new drug is fit for FDA standards.
  1. (Verb) Be of the right shape and size for.
    Example: That dress still fits me!
  1. (Noun) The particular way in which something fits around or into something.
    Example: You are a perfect fit for our work culture.

See. I told you, fit is pretty awesome. Especially at work when “fit” is used as a noun (see example three). You know what is even more awesome? The work God bestowed with the glory of determining who is “a Fit” (noun). They even have a prayer for these awesome folks.

“Glory be to the father (boss), son (manager) and the holy spirit (culture)! As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be work without end. Amen.”

I am a believer that work/cultural fit is an important criterion in hiring. Long past are the days when anybody responsible for hiring shivered-in-their-shoes at the idea of asking, “So tell me about yourself…” or “Where are you from?” or even “If you were one of the Beatles, which would you be?” Remember how scary that was?

Most must believe assessing fit provides additional accuracy in the hiring equation to include as a criterion at all. But let’s be clear. The accuracy of “fit” as a criteria is based—IMHO—on how “self-actualized” the recruiter or hiring manager assigned with assessing it is.

You all know Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? According to the definition in

“Maslow stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs. When one need is fulfilled a person seeks to fulfill the next one, and so on.”

Essentially, lots of innate needs have to be met in humans. These needs, typically sub-conscious, will motivate folks to behave in a certain way until met. A person hits Nirvana when they become self-actualized. Or one may say a person becomes close to being selfless.

In a nutshell, I believe the less self-actualized (selfless) the hiring decision maker is, the less adept they are at assessing if a candidate is a “fit” (noun). Why? The decision maker will (perhaps selfishly) determine if a candidate is a “fit” based on the decision maker’s immediate departmental needs rather than, say, long-term departmental needs or overall organizational culture fit. Or even more tragically, will neglect to dig-deep to see that every candidate is too complex to box into one specific “fit.” One person indeed can fit into many, many different working environments.

Recruiters and hiring managers responsible for these decisions: Know you are bestowed a big responsibility in assessing candidates, in particular candidate fit. Regularly self-audit, find a mentor, and solicit feedback on what underlying needs may be propelling your hiring decisions. Also, look at using some tools to help keep you on track regarding “fit” questions.

Unless you understand your needs, then you may be simply playing God with someone else’s career.