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  • Writer's pictureRobert A. Dougan, M.A.

THE RIGHT WAY TO USE YOUR INTUITION WHEN HIRING



Many hiring managers and business owners worry about whether they are choosing the right candidate for their organization—mostly because they often base that decision on whether they like them or not. But basing decisions on a likability factor can be risky for long-term fit and retention; it is better to instead make decisions that will enable you to select a quality hire.

This article highlights the two key indicators of success in making great hiring decisions: whether they are a strong match to on-the-job performance and whether they are a good fit for the work environment, which is directly related to retention. This all boils down to measuring for a candidate’s fit!


How to Measure Potential Fit


Hiring someone who fits in your organization is essential for both performance and retention. The following are some crucial questions you need to ask yourself before making any hiring decisions:

  • What type of person works best with our company?

  • What type of person works best in my department and with my management style?

  • What type of manager am I?

  • What type of environment do I create?

  • Who am I willing to invest in?

  • What sort of person benefits from my training/coaching?

  • What sort of person forces me to change my style?

Why Hire for Fit?


The number one reason people leave organizations is poor fit to the manager and/or poor fit to the team.


I’ve met many who have left high-paying jobs in which they excelled, but just didn’t mesh with their team or manager.


So, what is the reason behind this recurrence? Having worked as an expert in the selection business for more than a decade, I know most hiring managers are looking to fill a position based on the criteria set by the organization, which usually pertains to “on the job performance.” But realistically, how many of the candidates found through fitting those criteria will also fit with the organizational culture and manager? Probably very few!


Assessing and selecting candidates for performance is still important, but if those candidates aren’t going to stay within your organization, then this method won’t do you much good. Rather than assessing applicants for only their potential performance, then, make sure to assess for performance and retention together to find top performing employees who fit with your company and your management style.


How I Measured for Fit to Find Success


Several years ago, I hired a researcher for a consulting company. His credentials were impressive: he held a Ph.D. and a Postdoc, and he came with all the criteria needed to succeed in the role, so we hired him. This person worked hard and gave nothing but 100% while working with our organization. However, there was something that prevented this employee from thriving under my management.


My management style is more autonomous; I’m not prone to providing a lot of feedback, guidance, or structure. I tend to want people to take responsibility and figure things out for themselves.


Nevertheless, for months, this employee constantly came into my office—about five or six times a day—asking the simplest questions for feedback and reassurance. At times, he would even ask a question, answer the question without needing me to actually respond, and then promptly leave. This went on for about eight months until one day he came into my office and resigned. When I asked him why he was leaving he said “I like what I do, but I don’t think this is the right environment for me.” I accepted his resignation and we left on good terms.


After some thought, however, I went back to his psychometric pre-employment assessment to see if I had missed anything the first time around. And one thing I had overlooked in his character traits was his “Fit to the Environment” scale, which showed he had a high need for structure and feedback—in fact, it was quite a dominant trait of his!


Research from a prominent psychometric company has found that of all the validation studies and roles they carried out, a person’s “Independence Potential” trait is the number one predictor of retention. This scale doesn’t just measure their level of autonomy and ability to work within a team, but it further measures their need for structure and feedback.


Regrettably, I learned all of this the hard way, and the pre-employment assessment just validated all I came to know once more!


How To Make The Right Decision


After this experience, I learned to always ask managers in my training programs the following questions:

  • When making a hiring decision, how much would you be willing to change your management style to suit the candidate?

  • Is it easier to change your training program and management style to suit the candidate or adjust your selection process to help you find the right candidate?

In order to determine these answers for yourself, there are two main components to keep in mind when understanding fit:


1. Who am I as a manager?


As previously established, self-awareness is critical to self development, but it is also important to ensure you select people who fit with you.


As a top sales manager once told me, “you need to ask yourself, would I mind being in a car with this person for two or three hours on an appointment?”


If the answer is no, then don’t even think about bringing them onto your team.


2. Who is the candidate?


In order to understand how someone will fit with your company, you’ll need to better understand who they are as a worker and individual.


Using a psychometric assessment in the selection process is one of the easiest ways to do this. The results help predict which candidates will perform and stay with the organization based on the ideal ranges or benchmarks set in the assessment. And your predictive tool(s) should always validate not only how a candidate fits to their potential role, but also how they fit to the role within your organization based on the behaviour and attitudes of your current top performers.


Don’t Overlook Fit When Hiring


Many psychometric assessment validation studies show that roughly 70% of organizations have poor retention because they didn’t thoroughly explore fit in the hiring process.


Unfortunately, we see this statistic time and again; fit is commonly overlooked when selecting candidates! Instead of relying entirely on instinct, it’s important to base decisions based on both intuition and science to ensure you are making the right selection decisions for you and your company.


After all, there’s nothing worse than hiring an all-star who leaves you for another company just because they just didn’t quite fit!





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