You’re so fit

“I just didn’t feel they were a right fit”.

That’s the feedback heard time and time again in recruitment. But is it fair? Is “fit” something that you can reasonably justify and does it really matter?

As much as we would like to pretend recruitment is a science, so much of it still resides firmly in art. We make decisions not just based on technical skills and abilities, but on how we feel about the person. And the irony is that we both accept and reject this concept in modern HR practice.

On one hand we applaud the Google approach to assessment and selection being analytic and impartial. At the same time we congratulate Netflix for their intolerance towards mavericks and disruptive individuals. We want you to have the skills, but we want you to fit in.

Of course fit has a whole host of discriminatory overtones to it too. I’m not entirely sure I’d be judged as a good fit in a conservative, Catholic institution. But that is perhaps a too trivial way of looking at things. What about a woman applying to an all male environment, or a muslim to a secular workplace?

Yet at the same time, I understand the importance of “fit”, the need for someone coming in to the workplace to embed within the team and to gel with the organisational ethos. In many ways I think the organisational fit will be more important than technical skills in the future of our corporate lives.

But is “fit” ever justified? I think it is. As a candidate, I assess an organisation on whether I think I’ll be happy there, whether it matches with my ethics and opinions. So why shouldn’t organisations do just the same thing, providing it isn’t discriminatory?

I think that’s ok. Don’t you?