I think that when searching for candidates, you should not only pay attention to skills – compatibility with a team is important too. What means compatibility and how to find out if one has it – that’s the topic of this article about fit interview.
When talking about compatibility, I don’t mean looking for similar people or any other dark matter. I mean finding out how hard or easy it is going to be for a candidate and your team to work together. It is a key factor in determining how easy adaptation is going to be, whether (s)he is going to be satisfied with everything, candidate’s (lack of) wish to stay in a company and even an overall team’s communication efficiency. If you choose a candidate poorly, you’re going to get a lot of conflicts and total resilience to working together and compromise. Surely, with some time and effort you will be able to fix the situation. However, your employees may leave sooner, and your overall project is going to be questioned since your team wouldn’t be able to come to an agreement at work.
How to understand if you are choosing the right person
If compatibility is important, how to understand if you are choosing the right person? First of all, you need to know your team. Answer the following questions:
What people are working there: introverts/extraverts, funny, loud, quiet etc.
How do they usually work? How do they interact with each other – openly and straightly or cautiously and discreetly?
How do they give feedback?
What is the release cycle?
How do they work with problems, bugs and incidents?
Only knowing all these things you are going to see if a person fits. For example, my teams are usually open to making innocent jokes about each other and are generally light. If a candidate doesn’t have some self-irony and can’t take a joke – the adaptation process may be tough. If you ask if we block someone when hiring because of that – usually not (however, if a person is really negative about jokes, we may not consider him/her to save the climate in a team). The details matter, they determine if you are a right fit for each other. A good example is the feedback rituals. In my team we normally give feedback straight away and openly (without crossing the boundaries). Sometimes people are not ready to face such manner and they do not want to give/receive such feedback. It may be a tiny thing, but it will give you the idea whether you are going to get along.
Things to remember in the interview
In order to evaluate the candidate, make the atmosphere safe and open during the interview. Set it up as a dialogue, where you can ask questions about the experience, how a candidate usually prefers to work with his/her colleagues, tasks and processes. Describe in detail how it’s done in your team and look for the candidate’s reaction. Ask some questions about what (s)he feels and thinks of your description. Unfortunately, I do not know a mathematically correct way to assess the compatibility. However, you normally interact with a person during this part of an interview. So look if you want to work with him/her at the end.
What if you still have some doubts
If you still have some doubts, I suggest writing out all positive aspects about a person. There may be professional skills and personal qualities you like. Then make a list of points to grow. See if the good points cover the cons and if you know how to work with these cons. For example, if you have a busy startup and you always need to go forward fast, however, your candidate is excellent in terms of skills but is used to working calmly and slow, you should think if you can adjust the person to your processes. Do you know how to make a workplace comfortable for such a person and get the results you want?
All in all, every interview has some nuances and unexpected situations. We can’t look at all of them in one article. But I hope now you know a little more about fit interview details.
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