Whatever kind of vacancy you have, finding the best person to fill it takes a considered approach to recruitment. Evaluating skills, knowledge and experience is, of course, a vital part of the process, but so too is assessing how well a candidate’s behaviors, values and motivations match the job requirements.
To hire for job fit is to consider all of these things together. It’s to evaluate applicants not just on their ability to do a job, but also their potential to thrive in the environment they’ll be working in. Essentially, it’s to evaluate an applicant as a whole person, and how well-matched that person is to a specific post within a specific organization.
When you get job fit right, you’ll see increased levels of employee engagement - which is of benefit to your business, the successful candidate and your existing workforce.
Why employee engagement matters
Employee engagement refers to how emotionally invested an individual is in their work. It’s the extent to which they are motivated, energized and inspired by it, which in turn impacts their involvement and dedication.
Engaged employees approach their job with positivity, enthusiasm and vigor, and feel alignment between personal and organizational goals.
There are many benefits to employee engagement on both sides of the equation. For the employer, it brings:
Increased productivity and profitability - engaged employees care about the quality of their work and, being emotionally invested in it, perform to a higher standard. For a business, this means greater output and greater return.
High retention rates and low turnover - disengagement is one of the main reasons employees quit. Conversely, engaged workers are far less inclined to leave their employer, lowering costs associated with high turnover rates.
Stronger organizational commitment - as well as contributing to retention, employee engagement also reduces disruptive behaviors like tardiness, absenteeism and time wasting.
A happier, healthier work environment - the enthusiasm that highly engaged employees demonstrate can be contagious, promoting a positive work environment. Happy staff are typically healthier, making engagement a key part of workplace and employee wellbeing.
For the employee, the benefits of being engaged in their work include increased job satisfaction and a greater sense of purpose. It has a positive impact on physical, emotional and mental wellbeing and can contribute to a happier home life.
However, findings from a recent Gallup survey suggest that a mere 34% of employees feel engaged at work, with 16% saying they felt actively disengaged.
While there are many factors that contribute to employee engagement - like development opportunities, effective leadership, and access to the right tools and resources - it all starts at the recruitment stage with a strategy that focuses on job fit.
Measuring for job fit when hiring
To promote an engaged workforce, recruitment needs to focus on how well an individual can meet the demands of a job. Not just according to ability and experience, but also their working preferences, values, attitudes and personality traits. It also needs to focus on how well the job itself will meet the needs of the individual.
The following steps will help you successfully hire for job fit.
Conduct a job analysis
Critical to hiring for job fit is understanding the exact nature of the role you are hiring for. When conducting a job analysis consider day-to-day tasks and responsibilities, KPIs, the working environment, how the job might evolve and opportunities for progression.
A good way to get first-hand insight is to talk to existing employees in similar posts. No one understands a job and the type of person it’s suited to better than those already in it.
Shortlist based on the ideal candidate profile
With a detailed understanding of the job, you can identify the skills, knowledge and experience of the ideal candidate - those that will go part way towards ensuring a good job fit.
Use a combination of resume screening, aptitude tests and skills tests to shortlist candidates more effectively. After all, there’s no point investing your time in applicants that cannot perform the basic job functions.
Assess a candidate’s motivations
Now you have a shortlist of qualified candidates you can better explore job fit by looking at what motivates them. To do this, use a personality assessment like the Drives test.
This is a quick-fire test where the candidate awards points to a series of motivating influences - like a sense of purpose, being part of a collaborative team, and financial compensation. It allows you to understand an individual on a deeper level based on what drives them.
These drives can then be compared with what the job offers. If they match, you can consider it a good job fit.
Make the interview count
Your last chance to assess job fit before you make a hiring decision is the interview. To be thorough, you may want a mix of competency, behavioral and motivational interview questions.
For the latter, use the results of an applicant’s Drives test to tailor those questions. This will allow you to really explore their immediate expectations and their long-term career goals, and the extent to which the job on offer can meet them both.
Drives alignment and employee engagement
Understanding an applicant’s top drives and how well they fit with the job is key to promoting employee engagement. When an individual is motivated by a role they are more likely to become absorbed in it, dedicated to it and energized by it.
In fact, our own study on Person-Job Fit has found that when an employee’s drives align with what their job offers, they are 3x more likely to experience positive engagement.
By gaining a thorough understanding of the role and evaluating candidate motivations, you can identify those that will feel a high level of engagement - and as such be a more productive, more committed and more valuable addition to your business.