February 29, 2020 7:21 am by

Person-Organization Fit vs. Job Fit: Hiring The Best People

Job fit vs. organization fit is the two ways in which a company chooses to hire people. While there may be somewhat of a mix, employers tend to favor one over the other. To figure out which method you lean toward, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Does the person you hire need to have all the skills to do the job?
  • Does a person’s personality need to fit well with the culture of your company?
  • Do you have the time to train someone who doesn’t have all the skills but you like who they are?
  • If you had to choose between someone’s skills or someone’s ability to work well and fit in with the team, which is more important?

If you found yourself answering those questions with answers such as: “Yes, they need the skills. No, I don’t have time to train them. I don’t care what their personality is. I just need the job done.”  Then you are probably more of a job fit hiring manager. However, if you answered the questions with: “The skills are needed, but I could train them. I really need them to work well with a team. I can teach technical skills but not the innate leadership ability they have.” Then you probably hire more with an organizational fit in mind.

AdobeStock_76378846.jpegIf you found yourself answering those questions with answers such as: “Yes, they need the skills. No, I don’t have time to train them. I don’t care what their personality is. I just need the job done.”  Then you are probably more of a job fit hiring manager. However, if you answered the questions with: “The skills are needed, but I could train them. I really need them to work well with a team. I can teach technical skills but not the innate leadership ability they have.” Then you probably hire more with an organizational fit in mind.

While these questions can help you determine which camp you are in, let’s take some time to define Job Fit and Organization Fit, their benefits and drawbacks.


Person – Job Fit

As briefly described above, hiring based on job fit is all about the person’s abilities, skills and how they match the specific job requirements listed in the job description. As an employer, you have to think of the type of job you are hiring for. Is it highly technical? Job fit will be important if it is. Jobs such as construction, engineering, architecture, medical surgeons and doctors are highly technical and need people who have the skills necessary to complete the job. You may really like a candidate but if the job you are hiring for is a heart surgeon and they are a marketer, job fit is going to matter more than organization fit.

It’s not always that black and white though. Sometimes it’s about what part of the hiring process you are in with your applicants. When recruiters look at applications and resumes, they use this method to weed out the people who don’t have the basic requirements and skills to move forward in the hiring process. It’s all based on the facts. You’ll probably do the same even if you are a small business and doing the hiring on your own. Job fit is the easiest place to start when just reviewing resumes and you haven’t interacted with the candidate yet.


Person – Organization Fit

Organizational fit is all about how the candidate fits into the larger culture of the organization. Are they someone you and your team could work with? Do they have the same core values? Are there personality clashes? How do they fit in with the overall culture and vision of your company? A lot of employers feel this is more important than if they have a certain set of skills. Skills can be taught, but personality is what it is.

In jobs like office managers, admin positions, and most office jobs, organization fit becomes more important and necessary. While the candidate will still need to possess some level of skills and meet basic requirements, you don’t have to be as strict in these positions. As the hiring process moves forward, even people who start out eliminating candidates based on a lack of skills may move to look for people who fit with their organization once the interview process begins.

Potential Problems With Using Person-Organization Fit

Hiring based on person-organization fit can lead to long term success with your hiring but it can cause short term pain when you have to spend more time training for the skills that are necessary to get the job done. Most organizations find that it is easier to train the job skills then it is to train soft skills, which ultimately determine culture fit. However, there will be cases when, no matter how great of a fit someone is with your team and culture, they just can’t seem to pick up the skills needed.


Tips For Your Business’ Advantage

Generally speaking, using person-organization fit in your recruiting can help you with work attitudes, turnover and job performance. The more an individual fits with the organization, the more likely he or she is to display higher levels of job satisfaction. It can lower your turnover rate due to the fact that employees who don’t fit in with your organizational culture are more likely to leave. When individuals don’t feel like they fit in, it has negative effects on the effort they put forth at work as well.

Build Into Your Company Brand

Your company brand is a great tool to help with attracting person-organization candidates. Your brand is an image of your culture, values and the very things that you want your employees to embrace.

Use Both Fits To Complement Each Other

While using the person-organization fit model is ideal, it is important that you hire candidates with the right skill sets as well. Using a combination of the two approaches is ideal. Know what skills you can train and which you can’t so you can get candidates that can quickly absorb the workload.

Optimize Teams For Projects

Using a combination of person-organization fit employees and person-job fit employees on projects helps you create the ideal team. By bringing both together you build the ideal team to accomplish important tasks.

Influence Of The Person-Organization Fit

The impact of hiring for the person-organization fit can be felt on multiple levels within your organization. In general, these employees feel more connected to the company and their co-workers. This influences their level of job satisfaction which is directly correlated to their overall performance and motivation.


Which Approach Is Best?

It depends on the type of company you have, the time you have to train or not train a new employee, and your personal preference. There is no right or wrong answer. Job fit is a more traditional approach but for long term retention, organizational fit could help reduce employee turnover, thus saving your company from losing money. The costs of a new-hire are high so you don’t want to lose them because you made a bad hiring decision.

The drawback of just doing a job fit is that you may find someone that has great qualifications but doesn’t gel well with the other employees or your company vision. That will leave the employee feeling less connected, only working for a paycheck and easy to lose.

The drawback of just doing organizational fit is that you may get a great person who fits well in the organization but has no skills. If you don’t train them properly, they could end up feeling inadequate, set up for failure and frustration. Again, this could result in higher turnover. You could also have the right person but it’s not the right position in your company. If you find the right person, either move them into a position that better suits them or keep them on record to call when a job the best suits them comes around. Using a mix of both job fit and organization fit to some degree will help find the sweet spot you’re looking for to hire great people and keep them.


As Employers We Must Frequently Adjust Our Perspectives Of The Two

There is a delicate balance that employers should be cognizant of when hiring and those decisions should not be based on skill alone or organization fit alone. You should not hire people just because they are a great personality match for your business but do not have the skills needed for the job or any relevant experience (unless the position is entry-level and can be trained completely). You also shouldn’t hire on skills alone if the candidate will not fit in with your team, culture, customers or vision. Balanced employees will have a combination of both, even if it is not a 50/50 split. If you have to choose between candidates that lean more to one side than the other, choose the one that is a person-organization fit over the skill set as they will be bringing qualities that you cannot train.



This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  No attorney-client relationship is created between the author and reader of this blog post, and its content should not be relied upon as legal advice.  Readers are urged to consult legal counsel when seeking legal advice.


Once you find the right people, there’s a whole onboarding process that begins. Make sure you have this process down to set your new employee up for long-term success with your company!


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