Look at Job Fit in A New Way: Head, Heart, and Briefcase

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We know job fit is a significant factor in a person’s overall engagement at work. Our data at ADVISA indicates job fit and impact attribute to nearly 60% of an individual’s level of engagement. People perform at a higher level when they can bring their natural self to work and behave in ways that align with their role demands. If being a “fit” to a job is so important, how should organizations evaluate job fit?

The key is to realize that humans are complicated. And when you hire a person for a job, the whole person shows up for the position every day. They also show up within the context of your company; the culture, the team, reporting to a particular leader, etc. Unfortunately, many businesses still focus only on knowledge, skills, and experiences when evaluating candidates for a position. It’s essential to consider the items listed on the resume. However, we recommend a more thoughtful approach to hiring that considers the whole person. Consider aligning your hiring process to evaluate job fit as it relates to:

  • The Head: the stable components of how a person’s brain naturally responds to the world.
  • The Heart: the alignment to the why, the vision, and mission of an organization.
  • The Briefcase: the knowledge, skills, and experiences required to excel in a role.

It’s also critical to be objective in how you evaluate the head, the heart, and the briefcase. The most important place to start is by establishing a clear objective target that helps you consider these three portions of the whole person.

The Head

Benchmark the position

Start by benchmarking the behavioral and cognitive demands of a position by using tools like The Predictive Index. Jobs have personalities too and require certain behaviors depending on the work.

  • Consider and define how much risk is involved in the decisions made in the role.
  • Are the standards and protocols proven and documented? Or will this job require a person to make decisions with SOME information and will typically require judgment calls?
  • Consider the pace of the job. Is it a stable job where most tasks and responsibilities are predictable? Do they happen consistently and with ample time to complete each process from start to finish? Or does the role have constant change, create time pressure, or is every-changing?
  • Finally, consider whether the day-to-day requires dealing mostly with “things” (numbers, data, reports, objects, etc.) or “people” (feelings, buy-in, motivation, etc.).

Once you’ve defined this, look at the data that helps you validate what success in the job requires. Top and bottom performer data or turnover data is an excellent place to start. How does the data from those people help you have confidence in understanding the role?

Consider the cognitive needs

Jobs also have varying levels of cognitive demand.  How much new information does the role require a person to assimilate, understand, and make decisions around? How quickly a person can learn information and translate that information from knowing to doing is a critical job fit component to evaluate. A person can be aligned from a behavioral perspective and not be able to keep up with the cognitive demands of a role.

Evaluate the fit

Once you have defined what the job requires, you can use the behavioral and cognitive data from an applicant to evaluate if the individual is a strong fit for the role or may have a potential gap.

The Heart

Define your why

If you haven’t already, start by defining your Why. At ADVISA, we call it our Noble Why, which is “Improve the world one leader at a time.” As a Leadership Development company, we believe that leaders have to first grow within before they can be effective at helping their company (or team) grow. Thus, everything we develop, deliver, and give advice about relates to helping leaders become better versions of themselves. If you don’t have a clear purpose behind what your company does, start there.

Measure the candidate’s beliefs vs. the companies why

Establish methods for evaluating the fit between a candidate’s belief systems and your Why. This is important because cultural fit also impacts an individual’s level of engagement and willingness to give all of their discretionary effort at work. Our process at ADVISA typically starts by meeting a candidate and exploring what they care about and why they were interested or drawn to ADVISA and our work. If the person doesn’t articulate or connect with our Why in any way, this is a potential gap.

The Briefcase

The resume and interview

We still find businesses who are making hiring decisions strictly based on what they can see on the resume and observe in the interview. While a critical aspect, it’s all about balance. In more technical roles that require specific skills and knowledge to perform the essential function of the job, the briefcase may carry more weight. In other roles where people can learn the skills and close knowledge gaps as they grow, the briefcase may be less of an influence in the overall hiring decision.

Weigh the job responsibilities

Break the job responsibilities into categories and assign a percentage of overall time to each group. If a job requires, only 10% of someone’s time to perform a specific task, then how much weight should that acquired skill or previous knowledge carry?

Benchmark the position

Consider whether your organization is ready and willing to help close specific knowledge or skills gap for a person who initially lacks those talents. Could a mentor program or technical training equip them with the skills needed in a reasonable amount of time? If so, take an objective look at how essential each item in the briefcase is in predicting future success in the role.

The Whole Person Shows Up At Work

When we start measuring what matters related to job fit, we can more appropriately diagnose what the business needs from the people who occupy specific roles. Since the whole person shows up for work, our hiring and leadership approaches should reflect that we care about the head, the heart, and the briefcase.

How does your organization evaluate job fit? What practices do you find valuable in understanding the whole person? If you’re interested in exploring The Predictive Index as part of your hiring process, please contact us for a demo!

Read More

Are you about to go through a big hiring phase? If so, you should read our article “3 Reasons to Double Down on Your Internal Recruiting Efforts” from our partner Structural.