8 Tips for Finding a Good Fit
Tom shook his head and looked down in complete defeat. “The guy was great in the interview. He knew his stuff and he has a perfect background for this kind of work. I never figured he’d be such a jerk.”
How many times have we heard about bad hires? This happens in all companies, but it can be especially devastating in a small family business. The family is often looking for outside talent that can take the company to the next level as well as fit into the family AND business culture. A bad fit can cause fractions and conflict in the family and leave the owners feeling vulnerable and reluctant to try again.
So, what is the secret to getting a good fit? Our team has been helping family-owned businesses find the right hire for over 30 years and we’ve learned some powerful lessons. Here are a few tips to help you to coach your clients through a robust and effective process.
A well-developed, comprehensive, behavioral-based recruitment and selection process is one of the most effective methods for locating and hiring successful team members. Research supports the fact that past behavior is one of the most reliable methods for predicting future behavior and that certain behavioral attributes are key for fitting a specific organizational culture.
1. First we work with the client to help them to fully articulate both the current culture of the organization and the desired, future culture. In addition, we ask a lot of questions about how the management team models these behaviors. One way to spark the conversation is to ask: Describe someone that you have worked with in the past who really displayed the values and behaviors that you feel were positive and appropriate. What made the relationship work? What were they like? How did they act under pressure? Why is this important?
2. Next, talk about the role. What kind of skills and behaviors will be important if this person is to be successful? Most people focus on technical skills—however, people tend to hire based on background and technical expertise and fire based on personality. Help your client to develop a list of behavioral attributes that they believe will provide not only a good fit for the job, but also a good fit for the family.
3. Develop a series of key words that seem to describe the attributes that the leaders are looking for, such as “results focused,” “flexible,” “interpersonal savvy,” “decisive,” etc. We usually try to identify 8 to 12 attributes that seem to fit.
4. Ask your client to develop a series of examples of how a person would demonstrate those attributes. Ask, “How might you be able to tell that someone has strong interpersonal skills—what would you see?”
5. Consider using the Profile XT job assessment exercise to identify a range of core competencies that you can test candidates against.
6. Develop a range of behaviorally-based questions that can help you to identify a history of behavior that supports what the group is seeking. For example: Tell us about a time when you had to give an employee some difficult feedback. How did you prepare? What did you do and how did it turn out? Please give me an example of when you had to work in a situation that was uncomfortable for you. What was the situation and how did you handle it?
7. Work with the interview team to identify appropriate answers. What would they be looking for in each situation? What would give them confidence that the candidate acted in a way that supports the desired culture?
8. Finally, be rigorous. We generally develop a wide range of screening opportunities for our clients, whether the candidate comes to us through a recruitment firm or other means. This is serious business, but is often not taken seriously enough.