Hiring Trifecta; Chemistry, Skills and Fit
By Cindy Schwartz
Psychology teaches us that we have a favorable bias to those who are similar to us. Chemistry is a feeling that evokes a sense of familiarity with strangers. In the courting stage of an interview, clicking can create sense of connection for both parties. Unfortunately this affinity doesn’t ensure that the individual is the best possible candidate for the role that you are looking to fill.
Positive biases have the potential to cloud our capacity to see less desirable traits in people that we build an easy rapport with. We presume capability based on commonality. Many hiring managers fall prey to this and don’t take into account the long-term suitability or the dynamic that this individual will create in the organization at large. That is where the concept of fit married with skills comes into play.
Fit is a relatively new consideration in recruitment. Traditionally interviews have relied on gathering information about a candidate’s skills through the use of standardized questions. Testing to validate the essential skills outside of this exchange unfortunately is still not commonplace. Candidates and employers are taking what is being sold to them at face value.
A candidate that has extensive interview experience can often ace an interview because they know what to answer. They provide the manager with the magic words they are listening for, and we mistake this prowess for expertise.
To ensure quality-hiring decisions we must see chemistry, skills and fit as a recruitment trifecta that when used in tandem creates a recipe for hiring success.
These techniques can increase your chances of onboarding the best-suited candidate for roles across every industry, specialization and level.
Interview on accomplishments to diminish biases
Accomplishments are more concrete predictors of success as a way to validating skills. Furthermore, you should interview in reverse. Start with the most relevant role that launched the candidate’s career and build up to present day. Focus on achievements in each role that led to this stage in their success. Create a comprehensive narrative of the person that showcases in a linear fashion. Standardized questions force us to awkwardly piece the person’s history together and make sense of their path.
Good Cop bad cop
Have someone you trust meet the top two candidates shortlisted by the hiring manager. They can evaluate the individual through a different lens. This is a great opportunity to ask off the cuff questions or even act in a more casual manner to gauge how the candidate behaves outside the manufactured setting. Their insights can be invaluable to determining a successful assimilation into the team and the overall cultural fit, while catching any red flags you didn’t see.
Validate that the candidate actually knows what they claim to. Tests can be designed by the hiring manager, or the current incumbent to accurately measure the level of skill. In addition to determining qualifications, it can help evaluate how much training will be required during the integration period.
First date before marriage
Invite the final candidate selected to come in for a half-day observation with the team. You can both see first hand the realities of the role and the group without the rose colored glasses of the interview. To gauge interest you can ask prospective applicants to create a 30-day integration if hired including where their knowledge gap is. You might see them differently after spending 4 hours with them.
Use your network to confirm or deny potential fit.
Leverage your LinkedIn network to connect you with people that have worked with this candidate. You can play detective and get some off the record scoop to confirm any red flags or debunk biases. Moreover, when contacting previous employers, listen to what is not being said rather than what is. This can go a long way to piecing together any suspicions you might have.
Many of these techniques have the added bonus of weeding out any apathetic contenders or ones that are just playing the market. Recruitment just like dating is a crapshoot, we need to stack the deck by no longer ignoring long term viability or to sacrifice validating skills by employing a one size fits all approach to recruitment.