Why The "Not A Fit" Hiring Excuse Is The Worst And How To Fix It

Posted by Cathy Reilly

“Fit” is a longtime buzzword that easily rolls off the tongue of hiring managers everywhere. It’s become a popular and broad excuse for not hiring a job candidate. In fact, fifty-nine percent of hiring managers credit not being a cultural fit as the reason for rejecting a candidate according to a survey conducted by Cubiks. But what exactly does it mean to be a “good fit”?

bigstock-Analyzing-Applicants-Resume-Il-61252670When you dismiss potential employees without a concrete reason why they were wrong for the position, you miss out on some wonderful talent. [Click to Tweet] Here’s a deeper look into the “not a fit” hiring excuse and how it affects your company:

First, define your cultural fit.

While over half of the respondents in Cubiks’ survey on Job and Cultural Fit said they hadn’t hired a candidate because of cultural fit, even more, 85 percent, said cultural fit was harder to assess than job fit. If managers are having trouble assessing it, how then are they evaluating your candidates?

Company cultures, whether you ever define them or not, exist. However, when you don’t take the time to consciously spell out your what your culture is, it becomes almost impossible to recognize if a candidate will fit. This also allows hiring managers to just say someone wasn’t right without any evidence to back it up.

Clearly define your company culture and communicate that to your HR department. If you want employees that are independent, ambitious workers ensure your team knows exactly how to spot those traits in potential hires.

To aid in the process and keep your team accountable, consider creating a checklist of the traits your company is built on. If they tell you Jack wouldn’t make a good employee, ask them why. If they can’t provide a specific reason, reevaluate Jack as a candidate, comparing his skill set and personality with those spelled forth in the job description and the culture guidelines.

Second, expose job candidates to the company culture.

Job seekers want to know that they’ll fit in with your company just as much as you want to know that they will. In fact, 45 percent of job seekers responded that they want to be exposed to the company culture during the interview process in the 2015 Talent Report from LinkedIn.

Show job seekers what your workplace is like during the interview process. Put your mission statement, company values, and brand video in your job listings so candidates have an idea of whether or not they’ll enjoy the culture before they even apply.

Take the time to also introduce job candidates to your current employees, especially any coworkers they’d be working with closely. You can even have them work on a sample project as a way to assess their skills and see how they would interact with coworkers.

It’s also important to make sure your hiring team accurately represent your company. Research from Northwestern professor Laura Rivera found that hiring managers tend to choose candidates that share similar traits with them. So make sure your hiring team exhibits the most important qualities of your company culture, otherwise no matter how clearly it’s defined, you’ll get employees that might not match up.

Third, communicate your company culture from the start.

Of course you list the skills you desire for a new employee, but do you list personality traits you need? Ask your current employees to describe their coworkers in one word and use their answers in the job listing. For example if all of your sales department says their coworkers are self-starters, be sure to include that in all your job listings for sales jobs.

Also recognize that every trait of your overall culture is not necessary to be possessed by each candidate for all positions. Yes it’s important for your marketing employees to be team players, but is it critical for your IT employees?

With each new job vacancy, evaluate with your team which cultural fit characteristics are most important for the position and your company as a whole. Don’t miss an opportunity for a great new team member with the vague reasoning of ‘he’s not a good fit’.

What other ways can you stamp out the hiring excuse “he just didn’t fit”?

Topics: Recruiting & Hiring

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