Person/job fit mistakes and how to prevent them

A little quote

An HR executive I met years ago used to say: Having the wrong person in a position creates additional expenses to the company. When they make a mistake, it will cost the company.  You will pay the  cost for their mistakes (not doing things right on time),  the cost of repairing them,  the cost of re-training people or firing/hiring again and the cost of the bad example for the rest of the employees.  

I have seen some mistakes in my 15 years of experience, and yes, some of them are learning opportunities, but the truth is, the cost of the mistake is often higher than what we learn from it.

Why is this important?Right-Job-Match

Recruiters and HR planners usually try to prevent this problem by hiring/promoting the person who already has all the experience needed for the role. What they probably forget is that people that are career-minded will challenge themselves and look for positions where they can acquire NEW competencies.  I often see middle-management jobs that require 8 or more years of experience in a similar role and industry, which is very good indicator that the company may not invest much in Talent Development and that the people that applies is no longer looking for something exciting and challenging.

Experience does not mean competency. We tend to forget that is not the same to have 5 years of experience in recruitment, than to repeat a year 5 times. This is the reason why we should hire by competencies, not by experience, although competences might take more time to be assessed. A simple way of doing it is with the behavioral interview, which you probably know already.  Another one a little bit more complex is through cases, where you ask the job seeker to work in a case that s/he could work on when hired. The case has to be prepared carefully to provide relevant information and then discussed to understand why the candidate took those decisions.

In places where there is a lot of diversity in the workforce, using cases could also be a fair tool to select the best candidates. There are cultures that traditionally have a stronger presence, cultures that we don’t appreciate due to a stereotype, and people who haven’t taken/mastered the local accent yet and can be easily discarded on the screening of a regular interview.

If you want to go with a Case interview, don’t forget the following points:

-Prepare and include all the information that the candidate will need to solve the case.

-Write down the instructions on the case description,  and describe the points that will be evaluated.

-Give the candidate enough time to prepare it and the resources needed.

-Organize the case information in a clear way and ask someone else to read it.

-Ask questions related to the case and to the analysis process. Make a clear assessment of the competencies and the level of development that the candidate has.

-Be fair. Tell the candidate what the interview is about in advance (tell them it will be a practical case, I don’t mean disclosing the topic of the case).


Making sure that you have the right person in the right place will only increase the talent pool, the employee morale, and the profits of the company.


Experience versus repetition


Sometimes, hiring managers require a candidate that has “10 years of experience in a similar position”. Our duty, as OD specialists, is to remind them that 10 years of experience is not the same as 1 year of experience, repeated 10 times.  As we know, certain roles require a working style that is constant and according to the rules, and employees that are productive and comfortable with the role are as Steady and Compliant (DISC assessment) as the role is.

So, if you’re hiring a highly technical person, an accountant, an engineer, a developer, you may want to have someone who is comfortable with steadiness, compliance and rules, as their motivation for work is different than someone who has a high Drive or high Influence. However, given the transformation that business are experiencing, we need to remember that HR professionals (except perhaps for the ones in Compensations, Benefits, Payroll and other transactional HR roles) are very unlikely to leave a position with a tenure of 10 years, to move to a similar one.  It is usual to fit job and candidates, but after the candidate has been hired, he/she may be promoted to another role with a lower job fit.

We know that job fit is vital to increase productivity, happiness, and engagement. If you want to improve the culture of your company start by examining job fit.

You may find that you have an exceptionally talented employee, waiting for the right role. 

Changing the Conversation

group-conversation-resized-600It’s time to change. Time to change our fears, our dreams, our needs.  With the recent tragedies in the world, I ask myself what is the fear that is triggering the state of panic where we live?

It seems to me that we’re going deep in a vortex of distrust, panic, fear, anxiety and we’re trying to “fix” it with painkillers, drugs, guns and regulations.  We need to learn different ways of engaging in conversations. Conversations that focus not in the reason for panic, but in the opportunities we have to change our world. One of the ways to engage in a collaborative effort to change the world, is to host and and sustain heart-centred dialogue, the kind of dialogue we need more and more urgently.  There is a unique opportunity for everyone in Montreal, to attend the Art of Hosting gathering, this January 2013.  Please, join this community of practice and register for the next event:  Registration deadline is December 28th.

“As a facilitative tool, the Art of Hosting has provided me with a mechanism to access in others the words, thoughts, and feelings that form a heart-centered dialogue and conversation, often creating a sacred place for honoring the collective spirit.  In this sacred place, I have frequently witnessed a transformation of anger, hostility, and resentment to forgiveness, joy, and a willingness to explore mutual collaboration. Indeed, the Art of Hosting is a sacred tool, one that is founded on the principles of a soulful spirit, gracefully and integrally woven within a human fabric that yearns for peace and justice.”

– Michael Havercamp, Art of Hosting Participant 2008

OD professionals

Notes of Joseph Bentley’s Conference at UDEM (Mexico) on March 2012.
joe bentley
1. We, OD professionals, know how to facilitate collaboration instead of
conflict. Organizational issues require collaboration, as the ones that
are at the top of the organization have the power but frequently don’t
know how to solve the issues, and the ones at the bottom have the
knowledge but not the power to solve them.
2. We know it’s important to give voice to everyone, in harmony. We know
that giving voice brings commitment, commitment brings energy and energy
brings progress.
3. We believe that conflict is not always bad. It generates possibilities. Conflict facilitates possibilities and when it’s appreciated, leads to consensus.
4. We know “how things change in a planned way”. An added value of OD is planning, as it allows a semi-organized change, instead of chaotic
5. We understand that it’s always about people. Technology and Finance could be strong but people are the system. They are the ones who solve
the issues.
6. We know how to teach. A lot in OD is to teach the ones with the power.  85% of the leaders hadn’t have any formal training on leadership. A coach
has a very important role in the organization.
7. We know that the most valuable learning is the one achieved through struggle. Problems open you up for learning.
8. We understand the pressure of time. We don’t know where we would be in the next 20 years, or what the conditions will be. We will be solving
problems that we don’t know yet, with people that are still studying elementary school, in situations that we cannot predict now, however, we
know that face to face conversation will be important. We will need to discuss desires, goals, achievements, failures.  We are comfortable with
9. We understand that OD starts always with a problem. It’s difficult to pay attention if everything is ok. All changes start with a need.
We understand that there is conflict between the organization and its needs and the individual and his/her needs. We know how to work with
people to solve the organizational problems.
10. We understand that change requires a lot of energy: at the beginning and also through the entire process. People are usually energized at the
beginning but have less energy after the initial stage. We are able to channel the energy for the bold stroke at the beginning,
as well as the needed for the long march.
An OD professional is the one:
 who is comfortable with ambiguity
 committed with collaboration
 who honors other people
 who involves others
 who is an expert in Human Relations
who learns fast
 who is eager to receive feedback.
We can see things that the rest cannot, understand them in a different way and tell the truth in a way that engage people, instead of losing

Specialization is for insects

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”   ~Robert Heinlen~

I have problems limiting myself to just one or two interests. I love life! I want to do as many things I like, as I can. I was just filling out a form to apply for a Game development program and I’ve realized that human beings are so complex that deserve to pay attention to everything that interest them.

Of course your attention and energy is limited and you cannot do everything always. But you can try and have fun in the meantime!


I was just writing this in my application and I wanted to share it:

I wanted to be an astronaut or archaeologist. As I couldn’t be either one, I’ve been exploring a little bit of everything in life: I’ve acted, played instruments, danced flamenco, written poetry and played RPGs. I’ve led young women groups, meditation circles, book clubs, World Cafes and I’m starting a movement called Re-connection. The most fulfilling activity I’ve done, though, has been to facilitate workshops to change paradigms in blue-collar workers in Mexico and inspire them to go back to school/improve their careers.

 I firmly believe that girls and boys should have equal opportunities to do whatever they feel like doing, and it’s our job to inspire them to do always more than what seem possible or reasonable to do. I love unreasonable!

So, next time that someone asks you about your passion, don’t be afraid of giving them your list of the 10 or more things that you’re passionate about. We need more passionate people in this world!