Managing the Fit between People and Positions

Historically, hiring usually migrates to the top of the business agenda as economies rebound.  With a changing demographic, organizations are likely to run into staffing problems. Not only will it be hard to find the right people, it will prove increasingly more difficult to find talented younger managers who will replace aging baby boomers. If history serves correctly, as the crisis mounts organizations are likely to react to hiring decisions as an emergency. The problem will be further exacerbated by outdated hiring practices that are typically ineffective at getting “the right people on the bus.”

Managing the FitIn their Harvard Business Review article in May of 2009, Fernández-aráoz, Groysberg and Nohria report on a survey of CEOs and executive recruiters with respect to recruiting.  Their key finding?  Most employers rely on a very subjective approach to hiring that is influenced by their own personal preferences.  Further, those surveyed “held widely differing views regarding the desirable attributes of new hires.  They emphatically disagreed on whether it was best to hire insiders or outsiders, on who should be involved in the recruiting process and what assessment tools were most suitable, and on what the keys were to successful hiring and retention” (p. 76, HBR, May, 2009).  In a nutshell, hiring managers tended to rely on gut feelings derived almost exclusively from the interview process.  Not surprisingly, most new hires depart after only three years. A DHR study in 2008 found that without proper integration and onboarding programs, 40% of new hires and promotions fail within 18 months at an estimated cost of $1.5MM per year.

We advocate a balanced approach to recruiting that couples traditional employment interviews and reference checks with thorough personal assessments.  While candidates may feel overwhelmed by the process, they should take comfort in knowing that, when the decision is made, there is a greater likelihood that it’s the right decision for both parties involved.  We argue that assessments should augment the overall recruitment process instead of replacing it.

Workforce PlanningHowever, one is left wondering what are assessment best practices?  It is very easy to find numerous assessments on the web, but these can pose some significant challenges to those that use them.  When considering the use of assessments, we recommend the following:

  • Take a balanced approach – No one tool can provide the requisite insights for the various positions in your organization. We advocate a selection approach that couples traditional employment interviews and reference checks with thorough personal assessments to increase the breadth of information available when attempting to fill an open position.
  • Don’t rely on one tool – No one tool can provide all the answers so don’t advocate that it is the only tool you will ever need – a battery of tools that derive a more holistic picture of an individual is more desirable.
  • Use only quality assessments – Good assessment instruments are current, based on extensive research and have solid reliability and validity.  The best have limits on who can and cannot administer and interpret them.
  • Avoid biased instruments – Some tools are inherently biased and may expose you to legal issues. For selection purposes, be sure to choose an assessment instrument that is designed to support the selection process in your organization.
  • Consider outsourcing – Training in the proper use and administration of the assessments is necessary with many requiring extensive post-secondary education credentials. As such it can be expensive to properly train staff in the administration of these assessments. Outside assessment providers can be less expensive and time consuming for individuals in your organization.

With a quality assessment process and the success profile for the role clearly defined, you can select the best candidates and shorten the runway to deploying the best talent available.

What is your organization doing to maximize the fit between people and positions?

Career Partners International provides top quality talent management services to organizations of all sizes. Their offices around the world help assessengagedevelop, and transition talent in any industry. To find out more about Career Partners International and how you can maximize your organizational performance, reach out to an office near you or contact us today!

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  1. Russ Knight's avatar
    Russ Knight
    | Permalink
    Terry covers a lot of ground in this post but I sum it up as a war for talent. How are you competing? What is your plan to strategically improve your bench strength? Improve onboarding? A quick glance at THIS article might make you think there are so many different things to work on, but in reality, each of these are a sub-set of the same goal: improve people to deliver better results.

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