Should you hire for job or organization fit?

December 18, 2017 Caitlin Leishman

When hiring new employees, the focus is on selecting the right person with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the job. If you’re planning on adding some new hires to your organization, it’s important to consider how a potential employee “fits” in with your company. Not all hires are successful, and one of the main reasons is a lack of fit for either the organization or the job itself.

So what does fit actually mean? Organizational psychologists typically define it in two different ways, person-job fit and person-organization fit. Person-job fit is generally the most common, and involves a candidate’s suitability for tasks required to succeed in a specific job. This can include their skills, knowledge levels, and abilities. Meanwhile, person-organization fit refers to a match between an organization’s core values and culture and an individual’s beliefs and values.

Person-job fit is relatively easy to measure, and employers use tests, reference checks, resumes, and a variety of skill testing questions and other selection tools to assess this type of fit. In comparison, person-organization fit is difficult to measure as it is less objective.  Just because person-organization fit is less objective doesn’t mean it’s less important than person-job fit. While person-job fit is important when hiring competent and capable employees, person-organization fit has been linked to reduced turnover, increased organizational commitment, and increased employee satisfaction. An understanding of an employee’s values has benefits that go beyond the selection process, and can be useful in forming effective teams, succession planning, and much more.

Competencies can help accurately assess both types of fit by providing a consistent and observable foundation for interviewers. You don’t have to be a specifically trained behavioral interviewer; HRSG’s interview guides and specific competency related questions make it easy for anyone to gain good information about a candidate. Soft skills are quantified and made measurable, which can give an interviewer a greater understanding of a candidate’s values. Even person-job fit can be improved by competencies, as they allow organizations to clearly define job requirements and create detailed job profiles. Technical competencies are particularly useful for certain careers and all competencies can be easily adjusted and updated to keep up with changing needs.

To learn more about hiring for fit check out our newest ebook, Hiring for Culture Fit: The Talent Management Trend You Can’t Afford to Ignore.

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