Whenever you are looking to replace someone who is leaving (or you are looking for a new staff person), it is critical that you think about role fit. As the graphic accompanying this article suggests this is about ensuring that we find a so-called “round-peg” person for the “round-hole” position. But what does this actually mean and how should we go about doing this?
Here are 5 suggested steps for ensuring a good fit:
- Describe the current role accurately (individually and within its team)
- Ensure that the role is designed in up-to-date way
- Develop an accurate role description
- Design a fit-for-purpose assessment process
- Select the best-fit according to all of the prior steps above
Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail:
Describe the current role accurately (individually and within its team)
When an individual vacates a role (or a new position arises), the past may no longer reflect how the role should be or how it is supposed to be done. This may be no fault of the previous staff person but more of a reflection of time passing and needs changing. One of the best ways to determine whether this is the case is to ask people on the same team what the role contributed and how this could be changed in the event of a new person coming on board. In some cases this may mean that quite a shift can be made in emphasis or that the role is completely redesigned. It may even be merged into other roles.
Ensure that the role is designed in an up-to-date way
Even where there is already a position description, this does not mean that the role is written in an up-to-date way or contributes in the most optimal way. Using the information gathered in the step above, the position description should be reviewed to ensure it now accurately reflects the main accountabilities and describes what skills are most necessary in order to be successful in the role.
Develop an accurate candidate specification
Using the new and up-to-date position description, a candidate specification is a short outline of what is being sought by way of knowledge, experience or competencies to perform well in the role. This may be written as a list of attributes and competencies or as an advertisement that would appeal to an individual who would suit this position. However, in either case, the goal is to include critical needs and/or exclude experience or skills that would have little or no benefit in this position.
Design a fit-for-purpose assessment process
With an up-to-date position description and candidate specification we need to determine how we want to assess people for the role at each stage in the process. At the earliest stages, some people may not be eligible for interview (having insufficient qualifications, not enough or too much experience in a particular area etc.) and will need to be screened out. Once this “first cut” has been completed, it may be useful to get individuals to complete a questionnaire or profile to determine the relative strength of competencies or team-fit for example. And when you get down to selecting a few finalists, you will want to use both a face-to-face interview and also the insights gained from a psychometric profile.
Select the best-fit according to all of the prior steps above
Although it is often tempting to select a person who is similar to person in the previous position, it is important to ensure that the new person can perform the role according to the new position description and selection criteria, according to your assessment processes. This decision may therefore override feelings of empathy or familiarity with the person (especially when he or she is an internal candidate) but will ensure that the person you employ is the best fit for the role.
Further Articles on this subject