If The Employee Fits…..

Runners in the Knock Out Cancer 5k, April, 2013
Runners in the Knock Out Cancer 5k, April, 2013

It’s “fit” week here at the HR Introvert. Does anyone really know what that word means?

Have you ever attended a local road race and paid attention to the diversity of the runners? The ones I go to are attended by a broad array of people. At the finish line of a local race this year, I though I would pay attention to the footwear, and to the stride of the runners. Were they plodding to the finish line? Were they running fast at the end and frequently had both feet in the air? Were their shoes still tied?

Some runners are very particular about their footwear. They can go to a local shop where high speed video can capture their running style, which is not surprisingly a unique attribute. Some of us are heal strikers, some over-pronate, under-pronate, or have a neutral stride. And, as you can imagine, there is a shoe for each runner type. And since we are unique, there are also custom orthotics you can buy to help bring your body and the shoe together for the best fit. For many runners, the actual look and color are secondary, but the small sampling above shows you there is certainly an array of choices.

For me, that fit means that I can run distances comfortably and run a reasonable number of miles without injury such as knee pain or shin splints. And by choosing a good fit, I have never had any major issues that were a result of my shoes.

For any team hiring a new member, the first order of business is the ability of the candidate to perform the work. This, to me, equates to the construction of the shoe. It needs to match my neutral stride and sufficiently handle my weight over the miles I plan to run. The shoe needs to be able to do its job. While I prefer a neutral, low key color or style (um, introvert, remember?), that is less important and I’ll take the shoe that does the job that is as close to simple as I can get. The fit with my style means less to me.

If a team is hiring for fit, and they have two candidates that they feel are both qualified, you have an interesting challenge if they ask you to help with the decision. If both have shown the ability to perform the work effectively, do you choose the one that is a perceived better cultural fit?

Here’s why you might not jump to that:

  • Your process likely is good for determining the technical fit, the ability to do the work, but might not really be designed to determine cultural fit. There may be only perception, not clear differentiation.
  • Challenging the current culture may make for a stronger team

Sometimes, cultural fit is not “more people like the current culture”. Sometimes it’s someone who can make the current culture just a little bit better.

Maybe I should re-think my stance on those clown-colored shoes.

One Response to If The Employee Fits…..

  1. Hi Tim,

    Sometimes, cultural fit is not “more people like the current culture”. Sometimes it’s someone who can make the current culture just a little bit better.

    Great point. It’ll be interesting some definitions and examples on how to put this into practice.

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