I don’t think they are right for us

recruitment mindset

Have you ever heard those words uttered at the end of an interview? They sound the death knell for the interviewee, even though the candidate came across as enthusiastic about what they could contribute to your organisation. Even though they were well qualified and brimming over with the skills you need. Even though they seemed, on paper, so right for the vacancy – and yet, somehow in person, so wrong.

Why does this happen?

Many companies recruit people to fit in with the existing team. Put bluntly, the candidate not only has to have all the skills you want but be someone you’d like to have a drink with after work too.

Recruiters, subconsciously or not, look for someone who will reflect, or be able to adapt to, the core beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours that make up the culture of their organisation.

Not quite fitting the mould is a very common reason why candidates are rejected. There’s a belief that if you choose someone to fit within your current team, it’s more likely that person is going to achieve success.

Is this a good thing?

Quite honestly, we’d say no. People with all types of personalities can be great at the job you need to fill. We feel it is a rather misguided hiring strategy that looks for ‘more of the same’. And it can contribute to a lack of diversity since very often the people we enjoy socialising with have similar outlooks to ourselves.

Making inspired hires is about recognising great matches—and often they’re not what you’d expect. By rejecting candidates because they don’t behave like you or share the same attitudes, you prevent the introduction of varied perspectives. The most successful organisations hire a mix of conflicting attitudes and behaviours. They recruit people who view things differently and come at challenges from another angle, mavericks who can contest the status quo.  

So what should I look for?

Of course, you absolutely want to recruit people who can work within the company’s values. But look for new team members who can bring along some fresh ways of thinking, that can be a positive force. Shaking things up and looking for new approaches to old problems – this is how companies grow and succeed.

Changing the ingrained recruitment mindset means a shift in focus away from why the candidate doesn’t fit to instead, what they can bring to the table. You need to probe beneath the CV, and stop looking for people who will be smoothly integrated without ruffling any feathers. Rather, seek out candidates who can add to the organisation’s development. It’s a move away from protecting the norm to more inclusive thinking. And to be successful, it needs you to engage managers in the hiring process, to partner fully with your recruitment colleagues and ensure everyone understands what you are trying to achieve.

Have you any experience of hiring something who didn’t ‘fit’? How did it work out? Do let us know by commenting below.

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