Hiring for Team Fit: Why it Matters and How to Do it Well

You’ve no doubt heard over and over again how important “team fit” is when it comes to hiring the right people. Sometimes referred to as “cultural fit,” the term describes how well suited a candidate is when it comes to the personalities of his colleagues, the corporate ethos, the company’s work ethic, etc.

You also may have experienced how critical team fit is yourself: most employees who leave a company don’t leave because they can’t do the work; they leave because they are unhappy in their jobs, and they’re often unhappy because they don’t fit in. On the plus side, employees who do feel as if they fit in well are happier at work and likely will stick around a lot longer than someone who doesn’t mesh well with your current team members and company culture.

Hiring for Fit and Subconscious Bias

Yet in today’s diverse talent pool, hiring for “team fit” can be, well, problematic: there’s a lot of subconscious bias in hiring today which can result in deeming someone not a good “team fit.” As the article linked to above mentioned, a good example is a company where most of the men go out for drinks after work and the “hiring manager would rather hire another work buddy than anyone else.” This can be a problem because only 11 percent of engineering jobs worldwide are held by women and up to 40 percent of those female engineers either never enter the field at all or they leave it and when they do, they do so because of a company’s organizational climate and culture.

Tips for Hiring for Fit (Without Bias)

    1. Conduct behavior-based interviews, for all candidates.

Take a look at the behaviors and attributes of your current satisfied employees. Focusing on and looking for similar attributes is 55 percent more likely to predict future behavior than do traditional interview questions.

      1. Get current employees involved.

As mentioned in the linked story above, ask current employees to put together a list of attributes they would want in a new colleague. See which attributes come up the most often and look for those in candidates because the more of the traits they share with current employees, the better chance they have of fitting in.

It’s also wise if you let current employees interview candidates. Their high standards will help weed out candidates who don’t share their attributes.

        1. Be VERY careful about unconscious bias.

Make sure all interviewers – employees and hiring managers – understand where unconscious bias is most likely to occur within the hiring and interview process. Unconscious bias could occur:

          • The name of the candidate, which can reveal a candidate’s country of origin, heritage, etc.
          • Tattoos: they can bring up a variety of biases in an interviewer (“This person is a hipster.”)
          • A candidate’s home address: they live on the “wrong” – or “right” – part of town.
          • Misspelled words on a candidate’s resume: international candidates may not be able to write in English at a high level, yet still could make a fine employee and great colleague.
          • Lack of – or too much – eye contact. (“He’s challenging me.”)
          • Slumping in chair (“He’s too tired. Or even “He doesn’t care about this job.”)

Note: the list above shows places where it’s possible unconscious bias could take place, not as indications that bias has taken place.

One shouldn’t just “wing it” when hiring for team or cultural fit; it’s just too important to your company’s long-term success. Let Tech2’s specialized Salesforce recruiting strategies help you find great admin and developer talent. Call me at 919-569-5529 or send our team an e-mail message to learn more.

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