How the Wrong Fit Can Be the Right Hire

Posted by Lauren Collinson, Senior Communications Specialist on June 12 2015

workplace diversity
Hiring for fit can be dangerous territory and may ultimately stifle innovation.

When candidates and employers undergo the recruitment process, one word tossed around frequently is “fit.” Many employers worry whether or not a given candidate will fit in with the culture in the office, with the personalities and habits of existing employees, and with the established corporate values. In many ways, this is a valid concern—organizations want people who will be team players and buy into the business goals.

However, fit can be dangerous. It is crucial your organization draws the line between personality traits and teamwork, or hobbies and work habits. Otherwise, you run the risk of creating a workforce made up of the same types of people. On the other hand, a little self-awareness can help you hire the right mix of candidates to help boost your company’s creativity.

“Draw the line between hobbies and work habits.”

“Culture” is not the same as “personal fit”
Too often, employers mistake company culture for a place full of people that get along outside of work. It is important employees be able to work together to accomplish a goal—it is not as important they be able to bond over the Red Sox game after work, according to The New York Times. Generating camaraderie is all good and well until you’ve filled your company with people who look, think, and act the same as you. Learn how to avoid sameness in recruitment and hiring here.

Innovation requires input from people whose brains work in different ways, who can tackle a problem from opposite ends, and come up with a common and effective solution. When an organization hires for fit—something that happens 80 percent of the time, according to a survey from Cubiks—it can overlook qualified candidates who would help its cause. Plus, there is a fine line between fit and discrimination, and you don’t want your company to be on the wrong side of that divider.

Sometimes the one who doesn't "fit in" is the perfect hire.Sometimes the one who doesn’t “fit in” is the perfect hire.

Myopia stifles creativity
What’s more valuable to business development: A group of “yes” men and women, or a group of questioning, engaging individuals? Any business leader would argue the latter, yet that same manager will turn around and make a hire based on “fit.” When myopia takes hold, Forbes pointed out, business will stagnate.

One example involved a self-proclaimed fastener company that was proud of its culture and close group of employees. It specialized in nail guns and screw guns, but its competitors were manufacturing a broader variety of products that relied on more advantageous systems and technological upgrades. The company in question was too like-minded to realize they were getting bypassed and, as a result of that inflexibility, they were up against bankruptcy.

Fortunately, there are hiring management software systems that encourage workplace diversity, and can guard you against the fit bias even when you don’t realize it’s happening. These platforms ensure a diverse pool of applicants and will help guide your recruitment efforts to attract a wide variety of backgrounds. As a result, you’ll have a stronger workforce capable of improving business innovation and finding creative solutions.

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Tags: Recruitment Process, Diversity, HR Training