The Skeptical Methodologist

Software, Rants and Management

Find the Wrong Fit

To many places, when hiring, the most important thing is finding the right ‘fit’.  A ‘fit’ for culture, a ‘fit’ for our process, a ‘fit’ for our team.  ‘Fit’, to some, can be more important than competence, personality or other ability.

Fit is precisely what you don’t want.

Why are you hiring?  Because you need fresh ideas, you need someone to bring something to your outfit that you don’t currently have.  ‘Fit’, while an incredibly subjective term prone to almost as much abuse as religion or politics, generally means the new guy or gal doesn’t ‘rock the boat’.  We can go on working as we’ve worked before with the new blood; they ‘fit’ our team and culture.

But your team and culture was precisely what was broken in the first place.  Your team or culture lacked something that caused you to need to go out and hire someone new.

Besides not needing someone that ‘fits’, realize that ‘fit’ is used most of the time as a general blanket term for outright discrimination.  Not necessarily in race or gender (although don’t rule those out), but social bracket, alma mater, regional dialect, fashion, personality or any number of other things that may cause growing pains.  “He’s not like us,” one might think, “he doesn’t fit.”

Say, for instance, two people are up for a job.  I know one of them as an acquaintance, but the other is a mere stranger.  Obviously, I can’t chose to hire the first simply because I know him, but I certainly can convince myself the second doesn’t ‘fit’.  Ta da!  Nepotism light, but now we call it ‘fit’.

Hiring isn’t easy.  In fact, I believe hiring is the most difficult and important decision you make, and can make or break a project, company, and team.  Relying on weasel words like ‘fit’ to get out of making these difficult decisions can only hurt us.

Find someone new.  Find someone fresh.  Find someone with rock solid quantitative measures that is going to change the way you work.  Find someone that leaves an impression on your team for the better.  Finding someone that already ‘fits’ is the path of least resistance, and begets the concrete when we should be seeking the malleable.  ‘Culture’ begins to set in as a cancer, and eventually you only hire carbon copies of yourself.


March 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment