Can we tolerate working with you? Fit.

There are only three questions in a job interview, getting at strengths, motivation, and fit.  See The Only Three Job Interview Questions, The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan or the companion posts on strengths and motivation.

Interviewing for Fit

To be clear, this is an attempt to make an inherently complex and ambiguous subject simpler and more straightforward. It's worth it because poor cultural fit is the #1 stated reason for a new leader's failure. (Of course, stated and actual don't always match. See The top three excuses for onboarding failures.)

The fundamental questions an interviewer is getting at around fit are:

1) Will the organization be better off with you in it over time?  (at any level)

2) Will you change us for the better? (at the leadership level)

BRAVE Fit

Leverage the BRAVE framework (Behaviors, Relationships, Attitudes, Values, Environment)

Behave: What impact. The way people act, make decisions, control the business, etc.

Relate: How connect. The way people communicate with each other (including mode, manner and frequency), engage in intellectual debate, manage conflict, etc.

Attitude: How win. Strategy, posture and approach.

Values:  What matters. Purpose and principles. This is often the critical pivot point as it gets at why people do what they do. People follow engaging leaders for awhile, but they commit themselves to a meaningful and rewarding purpose or cause over time.

Environment:  Where play. External choices around markets and competition. Internal choices around layout and formality.

The suggested approach for an interviewer is to assess the interviewee's BRAVE preferences and then line them up with the organization's preferences/culture.

The suggested approach for the interviewee is to do the same thing in reverse. Follow this link for more on acing your answers to interview questions.

This is one area where no one should play any games at all. There's no upside for either the organization or the interviewee to try to be something different than what they are. They will get caught sooner or later. And the later they get caught, the more painful it will be since culture is the only truly sustainable competitive advantage.

There's more on this in my article on Analyzing Cultural Fit in Human Resource Executive.

Enhanced by ZemantaSee Rich Boughram's review of his top 5 books for interview prep

Comments

  1. Samuel Sowah says:

    Insightful and really true.! Had such expereinces.

  2. Yoko Yvonne says:

    I agree.  Better to come in to the interview understandaing everything about the company and just be yourself then to be ousted later.  I attempted to work in a very formal business environment and I had always worked in a more open environment where I thrived.  I lasted a total of 8 weeks before I parted ways. 

  3. Brenda Barros says:

    Everyone needs to keep in mind that preferences in the workplace can lead to discrimination. I am a black supervisor and that is the group that I will be closer to have the same intrest like the same foods etc.
    In some cases without knowing it leads to discrimination so knowledge and skills  and potential should always come first.
     

  4. Heather says:

    I agree that fit is so important for both sides when hiring. Any advice on how the interviewee can find out about the culture if they don't know anyone inside the organization? Of course, you can ask the interviewer, but usually the interviewer isn't forthcoming about cultural aspects that may seem negative (e.g. staff are very competitive, management is not receptive to ideas from those working under them).

  5. Jim says:

    This is nice if a corporation lends itself to such a structured entry and is large enough to absorb the shocks.  In reality, most companies would not know what to do with this process.

Trackbacks

  1. […] There are only three questions in a job interview, getting at strengths, motivation, and fit.  See The Only Three Job Interview Questions, The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan or the companion posts on strengths and fit. […]

  2. […] Bradt says, “if you’re the one being interviewed, prepare by thinking through examples that illustrate your strengths, what motivates you about the organization and role you’re interviewing for, and the fit between your own preferences and the organization’s Behaviors, Relationships, Attitudes, Values, and Environment (BRAVE). […]

  3. […] Prime Genesis describes the motivation based portion of the interview as a question of whether this job will help you, the interviewee, as you strive for career happiness. This kind of motivation goes hand in hand with the company’s vision for the future: if they are interested in using innovative technologies, can you learn quickly and keep up with technical evolutions?  Make sure to discuss how this position aligns with what you want for yourself and your career at the interview to show that you are in line with the company’s vision and excited about the job. […]

  4. […] Prime Genesis describes the motivation based portion of the interview as a question of whether this job will help you, the interviewee, as you strive for career happiness. This kind of motivation goes hand in hand with the company’s vision for the future: if they are interested in using innovative technologies, can you learn quickly and keep up with technical evolutions?  Make sure to discuss how this position aligns with what you want for yourself and your career at the interview to show that you are in line with the company’s vision and excited about the job. […]