Job Fit vs. Organization Fit

Job fit vs. organization fit are 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:

  1. Does the person you hire need to have all the skills to do the job?

  2. Does the person’s personality need to fit well with the culture of your company?

  3. Do you have the time to train someone who doesn’t have all the skills but you like who they are?

  4. 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?

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 lack of skills may move to looking for people who fit with their organization once the interview process begins.


So Which Is Better?

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 drawbacks of just doing 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 drawbacks 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 of feeling inadequate, set up for failure and frustrated. 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.


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!



Michelle Nystrom
Michelle Nystrom
Recruiter, people enthusiast, career match maker. I specialize in helping people see and reach their full potential, find meaningful work, connecting candidates and companies, and some HR on the side just for fun. Life should be lived at full speed, preferably in the great outdoors, and nothing should be left on the table. Literally. I love food.