The "Almost" Fit

We're in the process of searching for a couple of really critical staff positions. I've found that a healthy organization is almost always looking for good people - unhealthy organizations usually find unhealthy people and hang on to them.

The challenge in hiring for open positions is that you only hire people when you have a need. And, when you have a need but nobody to fill the position, someone else ends up doing extra work. That can lead to overworked people, broken down systems, and under-led initiatives. It's easy to panic or settle on an "almost" fit without being patient for the right fit, especially the longer a search drags on.

I've found an "almost" fit is worse than a poor fit. With a poor fit, everyone knows it's a poor fit. With an "almost fit," only a few people will notice and those people may have a hard time putting their finger on exactly what's wrong. It is always better to wait for the right fit than to talk yourself into someone you don't believe in from the start.

There are no perfect candidates and no perfect hires. But, if your gut tells you someone's not the right fit before you hire them you probably ought to listen to it, even if it means an awkward phone call to part ways with a candidate when you can't really explain why.  Otherwise, you'll spend the first several weeks of their employment trying to figure out what your gut was telling you and it will inevitably be a bigger deal than you initially thought. Inevitably.

Have a specific profile in mind of the person you want, and don't hire someone until you find that person. And even if you can't put your finger on specifically why you aren't jazzed about a candidate, do yourself a favor and stop the train before it runs you over.


Josh Horton said...

Are you imply that I was an "almost fit" for the executive pastor position....Cuz I still think I have the experience necessary for it!