Why associations shouldn't look for "good fit" when hiring

September 15, 2020

Why associations shouldn't look for good fit when hiring

If you’ve ever had a hand in the hiring process at your organization, you’ve probably heard the phrase “good fit” many times. Will this candidate be a good fit in our organization? 

Searching for a candidate who will fit in nicely with your existing culture is great if you are content with the current culture at your organization. But those “efforts can easily veer into a ditch where new hires all look, think and act alike,” writes Wall Street Journal columnist Sue Shellenbarger.

“This misguided hiring strategy can also contribute to a company’s lack of diversity, since very often the people we enjoy hanging out with have backgrounds much like our own,” says Patty McCord, former chief talent officer at Netflix and author of “Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility.”

Instead, ask yourself “how can this applicant push our organization forward?” Because when your organization values innovation and adaptation, having a staff that is diverse and open to change will make it easier to shift culture and create new opportunities.

Here are three things to look out for when assessing a candidate that aren’t “good fit”:


For an organization that is trying to avoid stagnation, one of the most important, if not the most important quality in a candidate is an ability and willingness to change. Nowadays, flexibility has become a necessity. Rather than hiring a candidate who will fit into your current culture, find one who could fit into any culture.

“Hire people who are committed to continuous improvement,” says The Business Journal’s Stan Silverman. “You certainly don’t want to hire continuity people. They will stifle your business.”

Listening skills

Not only will a candidate with great listening skills be able to build relationships in any environment, they will also “catch on quickly, follow tasks properly and get the job done efficiently,” according to Erin Coleman.

Having these skills will allow your employees within your organization to learn and adapt, creating an environment of growth and innovation.

Take-charge attitude

Going hand-in-hand with leadership and listening skills, candidates with a take-charge attitude are more apt to lead innovation, challenge the status quo and take change in stride. 

“Instead of thinking about all the things you can’t control and getting frustrated,” says Hallie Crawford, candidates should “focus on the things that (they) can control, (their) attitude and actions, and work on them(selves) instead.” 

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Ashley Neal joined the Sidecar team as Community Coordinator in March of 2020, right as the COVID-19 pandemic began to shut down life as we knew it. Having to adapt, overcome and predict the changes needed to survive in the new normal, Ashley now has the skills needed to juggle any obstacle thrown her way. A soon-to-be graduate from Southeastern Louisiana University in the field of Strategic Communications, Ashley spends her days balancing her work and education with her love of dogs. Taking her three dogs — Scooby, Pipsqueak and Moose — to restaurants, hiking trails, vacations and even participating in dog shows and sports is the highlight of her weekends.

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