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Ed Grimshaw

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Finding people that fit the organisation


It has never been more important to ensure you recruit the right person for the job. Ed Grimshaw explains how to find the ‘best fit’ when recruiting talent.

One of the most difficult challenges facing a manager recruiting staff is finding people that fit the organisation and fit in with the other people in it. A similar question faces those organisations that are undertaking a cultural change programme and utilising recruitment to assist in the change. Recruitment and selection can be used to define the ‘hire of best fit’, in changing the values and attitudes that underpin the desired behaviour.
We can of course seek out candidates that have the behavioural flexibility to respond and adapt effectively to their new environment, however this can be as difficult as finding the specific requirements themselves for fitting a particular organisation with its own distinctive needs. Does the person’s personal brand match that of the organisation?
The places that people work are becoming more individualised and unique in nature, this is a natural progression of the developing service economy. Niching and differentiating one’s product or service means that the people who will provide it need equally distinctive qualities and attributes.

A changing environment

Organisations are also becoming more complex and diversified, the requirement to change, adapt and to flex to ever-changing market conditions requires people that have knowledge, experience, skills and qualifications that fit the broadening roles. Even if we can find people who can and will do the job, there remains the key question: How will they fit in? Post credit crunch many roles are being re-defined and updated to fit the new world.
The new candidate has to measure up to the new challenges within the role and the difference in the way that things are done around here. There are of course those organisations that leave the problem of ’employee fit’ to chance. If they are unlucky it will lead to dissatisfaction on the part of the incumbent, upset with work colleagues, a substandard performance within the role and deteriorating employee retention figures.
Then there are those companies and organisations that have incorporated the requirements for a candidate that fits into the company through personal values, criteria and behaviours that support the objectives and strategy of the business. They ensure the new employee is on board and will go the extra mile having bought into the organisational ideology.
So how can the person responsible for recruitment select employees that will fit in with some precision, rather than rely on ‘gut feel’ or personal intuition? The following steps will help managers in finding the people that will fit:
  • What are the values of the organisation and how or are they manifest in the form of behaviours?  e.g. delivering a quality service; takes the initiative for resolving customer concerns; considers issues from the customer’s perspective.
  • Identify those behaviours that commonly deliver the required results within the organisation, the organisation can also define the behaviours that do not deliver the required results.
  • Include those behaviours as part of the role specification.
  • Decide how you will test and assess the required behaviours.
  • Incorporate the values and criteria that support the way the company does business within the recruitment and selection process itself.
  • Promote the vacancy using the values and criteria required to undertake the role.

Will this person fit in?

In deciding whether a particular person will fit the organisation, we have assumed they are capable of undertaking the role as well as motivated to do it. We need to consider the following aspects of the role:
  • Organisational culture – does the culture of the organisation match that in which the candidate thrives or will potentially perform well?

– Does the candidate have experience of working in a similar culture?
– What type of culture would ideally suit this candidate?
– How will this person develop with the culture?

  • Values and beliefs – do the beliefs and values of the candidate suit those required by the organisation?

– How will you identify and test them?
– What are most important reasons for wanting this job?
– Are there any beliefs that will constrain the individual in the role? 

  • Relationships – does the quality of relationships within the role and organisation match the relationships the candidate has experience of or will flourish in?

– In working with the type of people connected with the role, will candidate manage the relationships smoothly?
– What kind of people does the candidate most like to work with and why?
– What kind of people do they least like to work with?

  • The way we do things around here – will the candidate be comfortable working in this kind of environment?

– How does the candidate achieve their objectives?
– Is there anything the candidate is not prepared to do that will be required within the role?

Each organisation has its own way of doing things; it is identified not just by the products it produces but the processes and principles that support its operation. The values of the candidate have to be well-matched with those of the organisation; this will produce an alignment of resources in undertaking those tasks attached to the individual role.
In addition to the tasks and activities, the new incumbent will mix and work with a blend of people already established within the organisation. Those people are already familiar as a team and in their way of doing things. The new recruit must adapt to the dynamics of the team and the people connected with the role. Whilst it is not possible to check out the compatibility of every person in the organisation, it is possible to specify key requirements for handling and dealing with people in general in doing the job. We can do things by the book or adapt the process to better fit the individual requirements of each role and job specification.
In recruiting people that fit the business, we are shaping the organisation’s future results and performance. An organisation that knows the type of people that fit will improve its efficiency in everyday management. It is much more than just building a team that will work together towards a common purpose – it is about acquiring personal plans and resources that complement the individual organisation’s way of doing things. The question for the advanced recruiter is not whether the candidate fits, but to what degree they fit? 
Ed Grimshaw is the author of ‘The Perfect Fit’, published by Dragonrising, which is available from all good bookshops and Amazon.