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Job Fit: What It Is and How To Assess It

Every hiring manager has been there before. You create a job posting, filter through stacks of resumes, interview candidates, and assess them until you finally narrow down the list to “the one.” Then you onboard them, paying extra special to set expectations and preparing them for the role. Except you do all of this only to go through the exact same process again, for the exact same role, in the not-too-distant future.

Turnover can be extremely frustrating and can have many causes. From the job not aligning with candidate expectations to underperformance or the candidate feeling undervalued. Many companies have enough turnover that they find themselves having to streamline their interview process because they are spending so much time rehiring – only to find that the turnover then increases because hiring decisions aren’t as thorough.

But there is a solution. By focusing on job fit in your interview process you can get successful people who will happily stay with your organization for a long time.

What is Job Fit?

Also known as “Person-organization fit,” job fit is the likelihood that a candidate will be successful in a given role within your organization. Success in a role means not only should they excel at the job, but also stay at your company and be fulfilled in their work.

A candidate’s job fit is different for every role in every organization. So your goal in the hiring process is to find the candidate with the strongest fit for your role and your company. But how do you know whether a person is a good fit for a particular role with your organization?

What Determines Job Fit and How Do You Assess It?

Hard Skills

This is the element of job fit that most hiring managers gravitate to, and it makes sense that they do. You need someone who can fulfill the tasks that the job requires. However, even though hard skills are the simplest place to start they shouldn’t be all you look for or carry the most weight. Hard skills are one of the less important factors because they can be taught.

Hard skills are one of the easiest factors to determine and evaluate for a particular job. To determine what hard skills you should look for, get a clear picture of what the person in this role does. Then create a prioritized list of day-to-day tasks and what hard skills are required to complete them.

To determine if a candidate has the hard skills necessary to be successful, start by looking at their previous experience. Ask them to give examples of their previous work with behavioral interview questions. If you don’t know about the skill you’re assessing, bring in an experienced team member. To gain further confidence in a candidate’s hard skills, you can also give them a hard skills assessment so you can see their work firsthand.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are often overlooked in favor of hard skills when assessing job fit because many hiring managers aren’t sure how to determine a person’s soft skills or which soft skills are necessary for success. In fact, 57% of talent managers struggle to assess soft skills accurately.

To further complicate hiring managers’ assessment of soft skills, the necessary soft skills vary within roles and from organization to organization. While hard skills typically remain the same from company to company, work environment, culture, and processes all influence what soft skills will help a candidate succeed.

There are two ways to identify the soft skills that lead to success. The first is internal expert input. Find an employee who has been successful in the role you are hiring for (if it isn’t you), or a hiring manager who knows what it takes to be successful in the role. Then walk through the soft skills that employee would need to drive results – like multitasking, feedback sensitivity, or assertiveness. When you’re finished, determine which soft skills are necessary versus nice to have and double-check for biases.

The second way to identify the soft skills critical to job fit is by using data. The advantage to this method is that, if you gather and interpret it correctly, it removes unconscious bias. If you’re hiring at a large organization for an existing role, then you already have all the data you need. Cangrade develops custom AI-driven Success Models for every role at every organization that uses your data to identify the soft skills that lead to success. Then our Pre-Hire Assessments screen candidates for the soft skills you need, so you focus on top talent.

Even if you don’t have employee data, Cangrade can still help you identify the soft skills that lead to success with our Expert Input AI models.

Whenever you are relying on your own knowledge, it is important to take extra care in determining what should be most valued for the role. Always run your thoughts through multiple people to balance out any unconscious biases that could have crept into your determination.

Values and Team Chemistry

Values and team chemistry are important to determine in the hiring process, but they belong in the same category for a simple reason – you should be extremely careful in determining both. It is easy for unconscious bias to creep in when evaluating culture fit. And if brought into the hiring process, biases can stifle diversity and prevent top candidates from being hired. It is still important to assess both values and chemistry as an element of job fit, but you must do so cautiously.

Values are the beliefs that a candidate holds about the world and are what determines if a candidate will feel good working at your company. Candidates don’t need to agree with everything your business does or believes – diversity in the workplace leads to more employee success ­– but they also shouldn’t feel bad about the work they are doing.

The best way to determine if a person’s values are a good fit is to share your company’s core values. If a candidate is actively against them, they will most likely disqualify themselves. If your company doesn’t have core values, put them together. It will give a candidate confidence that your company is a good fit for them.

Assessing team chemistry is fairly simple. Simply let candidates interact with their potential coworkers during the hiring process, either through interviews or a shadow day. Make sure you avoid letting biases creep in here too. A candidate does not have to be a mirror-image of their potential teammates to work well with them. If you hire someone because they are “like-minded”, you are likely doubling down on bias and stifling diversity.

What Should I Do if I Like a Candidate, But They Lack Job Fit?

This is one of the toughest conundrums for hiring managers. You want to add good people to your organization, but remember that good people who aren’t a fit for a role don’t stay long. If a candidate fits your organization, but not your role, consider assessing their job fit in a different position. This could be another open role or a position tailored to their skillset. If there are no roles for them that are a fit, then let them go find a role that would be a good fit. They will thank you for it. If you know of any other organizations that are hiring for a position that would be a good fit for them, pass them along and stay in touch. You may have the perfect opening for them in the future.

Not every applicant is going to have a strong job fit. And if an applicant isn’t a good fit for the role you have available, they likely won’t be successful or satisfied at your company. By assessing job fit in your interview process, you’ll reduce turnover and the likelihood that you’ll be going through the hiring process for the same role again.