It’s all about the Fit…
I have been reflecting recently on how you get recruitment right and ensure new hires will add the most value to your organisation. This was triggered by a couple of things. For one, Direct Pathways has been involved in a lot of work on recruitment in the last few weeks: we’ve helped companies attract the right staff by ensuring job descriptions properly reflect the role; we’ve supported managers to achieve the best results in interviews; we’ve provided interview training and (more importantly) quality feedback on performance. Secondly, I had a thought-provoking conversation with two other attendees at a New Anglia Growth Hub event in Diss.
During this conversation they both stressed how important attitude and “fit” were to recruitment. One would select staff based on three criteria: experience, skill and attitude. The first two elements could be improved by training and good management but the third could not, and therefore required the closest attention at interview stage. The second person added a really interesting insight: at their company, one of the criteria for judging the success of an interview, is by how much it over-runs. They believe that when an interviewee has something in common with the interviewer, a shared team, hobby or passion, they are more likely to work well together and for a fast-growing company, this is an important consideration.
I am not sure that I agree with this assumption. Anecdotally, I have a friend who was given an interview because they had an interest in outdoor pursuits, and the directors of the firm were big fans of hill-walking. They had a great chat about their shared passion, as well as establishing my friend had the right skills, and a job offer followed. However, the relationship was relatively short-lived, as there was not a similar passion for the vision and goals of the company, which in the end proved to be more important.
Reading Matthew Syed’s book “Rebel Ideas” has made me challenge this thinking even further. He makes an excellent point about how to get the best from a team that requires innovative thinking or works with a broad customer base. How are you going to get a varied and wide-ranging perspective from a group of people who (unlike your customers) share the same education, experiences and world view? If your staff have to “fit” a particular mould, you are missing out on the differences that can create better ideas and the opportunities to build great collaborations. There is considerable research to back up Syed’s thinking and I would recommend his book if you want to know more.
In conclusion, I love it when an interview evolves from a Q&A session into a conversation. But I’d much rather the interviewee is challenging your company’s thinking, has a passion for what they do and a skill set that aligns to your needs, rather than a pride in (or despair for!) the same sport’s team as you.
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