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The Curse of “Fit” in Recruiting


Every recruiter is cursed by the term “fit.” Regardless of how you define it, the simple truth is that there are as many different individual understandings of what fit really means as there are clients and candidates looking for it. The pursuit of the right fit with no clear definition of the term creates frustration on all sides of the recruiting process.

Clearly defining fit within your organization or project is key to successfully recruiting the right person for your team. Fit can include many different factors such as culture or team fit, personality, social awareness, behavioral intelligence, leadership ability, consultant IQ, integrity, work ethic, and yes, even social media behavior. Fit is rarely defined as how an individual matches up to a list of technical/functional skills necessary to execute day-to-day activities; that’s easy to objectively assess.

Thoroughly defining what “fit” means will make your recruiting effort much more effective.

Fit is usually a top-down decision defined by an individual’s ability to align with the mission and vision of the organization or project. Before starting a recruiting effort, every organization’s or project’s mission should be to thoroughly define their specific meaning of fit. This will make your recruiting effort much more effective and quicker. Fit can’t always be defined as a “gut feeling.”

Recruiters – You can be the greatest recruiter on the planet with an impressive track record for finding unicorns and purple squirrels, but if you don’t ask your client to clearly explain THEIR definition of fit, you will likely find yourself frustrated and dumbfounded at the end of every interview.

The IFG Professional Resource Management team has 50+ years of nationwide public-sector project experience and an extensive talent network to expedite your hiring process and provide you with the most qualified, right-fit resources.

This article was inspired by Mike Rasmussen’s The Essence of the Fit November 2014 Recruiting Blog.

Michael Shirk is IFG's Managing Director of Professional Resource Management. Get more of his articles, or connect with him on LinkedIn.