“Fit Finding” Homework!

“Fit Finding” Homework!

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 25, 2023

0 Author-Jeanne, FEATURED BLOGS, HIRING. EMPLOYEE SELECTION, Hiring.Best Practices, Lead Gen Content - Candidate Selection, RECRUITING/CANDIDATE SOURCING get connected


right fit employment employers candidates“Fit Finding” Homework    

Finding and hiring an employee who is the “right fit” for your  job and your work environment isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Finding and spotting that unique candidate requires careful planning, and yes some hiring manager homework even before the recruit begins.    

In previous blogs we’ve talked about the 5 areas of fit that we focus on in our recruiting process.  As a refresher here are those five areas…..

  1. Job Fit – is the actual work content they candidate will do – can they do it?  will they enjoy doing it?
  2. Company/Values Fit – is what the company does and how it views its employees a good fit for things the candidate cares most about?
  3. Work Style Fit – is how the people on the team or in the company work together a good match for the candidate’s preferred work style, i.e. how they prefer to interact with others on the job.
  4. Motivational Fit – will the job and what the company provides to its employees help the candidate achieve personal and professional goals that are important to them.  Will they stay engaged and motivated to succeed?
  5. Logistical Fit – do the terms of employment match up with the candidates requirements with respect to hours of work, work location, candidate availability etc. .

Here’s an overview of the homework that needs to be done in each of these areas of “fit”………

#1  We always start with “job fit” – identifying the skills, knowledge and experience it takes to do the job, and finding candidates who CAN and WANT to do the work that is the job!     

“Job fit” is the first step in “fit finding”.  It’s like putting the right key in the door, the right piece into a  puzzle.  When a hiring manager finds a candidate who has the right skills and loves using them, is well on their way to finding that “just right fit.”

For employers, fit finding is about getting clear about what skills, experience, or TALENT that is actually linked to successful on the job performance.  Once you’ve defined success behaviorally – what must the employee do, produce or create to be considered a successful hire – you are well on your way to fit finding.

Hiring managers often adjust their hiring criteria as they gain more information about what it takes to do the job well – in most cases influenced by a job market where setting hiring criteria too high means you run short of qualified candidates or they cost more than what you can afford.

One of the ways we contribute to our client’s fit finding process is to help hiring managers get clear on what skills or experience they actually need and can afford.  We start by asking about the skills or experience of successful hires in the past plus help them describe the underlying talents they believe it takes to become really good at what they do.  By focusing on talent, not just skills and experience, we help our clients avoid the high price tags that often come with hiring candidates who may have more skills and experience than is needed, so they can focus more on candidates with the talent to be easily trained and developed from within.         

For candidates, finding “job content fit” requires a focused inquiry into the components of previous jobs they liked and performed well and match those up with what they will doing in the job they are being interviewed for.   

Job content “fit” happens when the actual work content requires an employee to use the  same set of skills and personal qualities they have used and enjoyed in the past, and minimizes the need to do things they haven’t liked or haven’t done well in the past.   

#2  Explore whether or not the company’s mission, beliefs and values align with what’s important to the employee.        

When looking for “fit” at the beliefs and values level,  the fit finding process can take on a variety of looks.   There are candidates who have  very strong personal values and will  not consider a company who isn’t the “right fit”.   Others have less tightly defined values, and can work for a broad range of employers, even those whose values differ from their own.

For the same reasons, there are companies with a very strong set of values that aren’t easily compromised.  They get reflected in their policies or behavioral norms so that as a place to work, the company is only attractive to the type of employee who has similar values.   Other companies are much less value driven and can work with a wide of employees, despite how these employees might behave at work.  (In case you’re wondering,  values have little to no relationship with an employee’s race, ethnicity,  gender, or sexual preference…but more on that later!)

Fit finding in the values area is often about avoiding obvious mismatches.       

What attracts an employee to a company is often about how a company treats its people. And the recruiting process is all about putting your best foot forward.

If the company wants its workplace to be about having fun at work, there is a ping pong table in the lunchroom that makes them look like a “good fit” for the right employees.   If they place value on keeping their employees well paid and secure, the recruiting process showcases  pay and benefit programs.  If a company values individual achievement, they feature their incentive and recognition programs that are focused on the individual. If a company values learning, they’ll tell you all about their training or mentorship programs.

Discovering whether or not an employee’s personal values  are in line with a company’s business or how they do their business  requires you to understand how the organization actually behaves outside the recruiting process and match that up with how an employee wants to be treated – really.  

#3  Find out how the candidate prefers to do their work compared to how the team they are joining gets work done.     

The work style component of “fit” has become increasingly important in today’s work environment where the increase in work complexity requires people to work together in teams, rather than as individuals working alone.  How an employee typically behaves in a “team” environment and the behaviors the team expects from its team members , is a big component of “fit”.   

And each team is different! 

For example,  employees who enjoy being individual contributors often find it challenging to “fit” into teams where team members do everything – make decisions, solve problems , etc. –   collaboratively.  If you are an employee who hates meetings and the team you are working on a team that is meeting rich, chances are this team is not the best “fit” for you.  If you are someone who prefers to work alone and enjoys solving complex problems on your own, a team where individual efforts are not that noticed or recognized is likely not the best fit.

Unfortunately, not all hiring managers take the time to understand let alone describe the “culture’ of their team.  In those cases the assessment of “fit” can happen casually – often during an interview with a future boss and/or co workers.  This is a setting where its easy for “like” to morph into “fit.”

Employees who show up “likeable” in an interview setting, are not always the right fit when it comes to actually getting work done.

Selecting an employee who has a work style that “fits” requires the team to increase their awareness of how they actually get work done at work,  different from what team members do on the weekend or after work.      

Fit Finder homework for hiring managers?  Ask yourself (and your team)  a few questions…

  • How does the team measure its success? How often?  In what way?
  • Does the team like to just meet its goals or is always striving to exceed them? 
  • What kind of rewards does the team enjoy?  Are there opportunities for individual recognition, or is it always the team?
  • How does the team solve problems? Do people work together to solve all issues together, or  does the team expect individuals to solve their own problems?
  • How does the team communicate with one another – formally or informally?
  • How often and in what ways does the team meet together?  
  • How do decisions get made?  Does everyone get a chance to weigh in, or does management just make decisions on the team’s behalf?
  • How does an employee get and give feedback to one another?    

#4   Find out if what the employee wants to “achieve” by accepting a job offer and matching that up from what the job and company has to offer.   

After we’ve helped a hiring manager get clear on their “preferred candidate profile” we always ask them what they think would motivate that preferred candidate to “take this job”.  What will this preferred candidate actually get from  saying “I do” to an offer of employment?

You might be surprised to learn how few  hiring managers have clear answers to that question.   And they need to – particularly in today’s marketplace where the best talent has many choices as to  where they will work. Finding motivational fit can’t be an after thought.  

With candidates, fit finding is always about uncovering why they work – what they hope to get from their job and why they might select one job over another.

  • Is it a chance to be recognized and promoted based on a highly visible form of personal contribution?
  • Do they want to use their job as a way to expand their social circle, or counter balance loneliness? 
  • What are their aspirations for the team?
  • What do they need to be paid in order to feel success?
  • How important are benefits to the employee?  Healthcare care coverage?  PTO? HTO?
  • How important is it for the employee to know their job is secure, not subject to lay off?

“Fit finding” also requires that we take a clos look at a candidate’s work history – finding out why they decided to take a job, why they later elected to leave it.  The pattern this type of inquiry uncovers almost always reveals something important about the candidate’s motivational profile.

Our role in motivational  “fit finding” is to make sure that what each candidate  wants or needs from their job, and what each job is likely to offer. 


PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 40 years.

A 5-time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction.

PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditions, direct hire professional recruiting services, Employer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte.

To learn more about our “fit finder” process and how it makes a difference, lets connect.

If you’re a candidate looking for that job that is the “just right fit”,   contact us at 425-637-3311 or e mail us at candidate services@pacestaffing.com.

If you’re a hiring manager looking for an employee who is that “just right fit”, contact us at 425-637-3312 or email us at partnerservices@pacestaffing.com.


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