The term “right-fit” has been popular among recruiters and hiring managers for as long as we’ve been recruitment advisors — close to 20 years! A job description will say, “We’re seeking right-fit candidates for…” or “If this sounds like a good fit for you…” and so on. 

Despite its pervasiveness, using “right-fit” (and its derivatives, like “fit”) for recruiting purposes is problematic. It’s a sweeping generalization, for one, and meaningless corporate speak to boot. 

To attract and retain the top technical and creative talent you need to augment your team, throw generalizations out the window. Instead, take time to analyze the traits you’re truly looking for in a candidate.

Why “Right-Fit” Is a Troublesome Recruiting Term

Every book about effective management or interpersonal communications touts specificity and accuracy as keys to strong communication. Well, saying someone is a good fit for your team is the opposite of specific and accurate. 

Think about it. That phrase — “good fit” — doesn’t describe anything. If you’re resorting to language about needing a person to fit into your org, you’re failing to show a genuine understanding of the characteristics that will make a person successful on your team. You’re also underselling what you, your team, and your company have to offer a prospective hire because you’re not accurately articulating what makes working for your company unique and rewarding. 

In addition to being too generic, terms like “right-fit” can be dangerously prejudiced. If a recruiter or hiring manager is looking for a person who “fits” on their team, it implies a level of team-wide homogeny that’s not conducive to diversity.  

3 Tips To Source Effective New Hires for Your Team 

Shedding “fit” from your recruiting lexicon will strengthen how you communicate with potential employees and contractors because it encourages precision and accuracy in describing your job openings. Below are three tips for figuring out what to say instead…no more leaning on generic language. 

1. Observe Your Team To Find the Formula for Success 

Based on standard job descriptions, you’d think all teams operate the same way and have the same staffing needs. Everyone asks for a “self-starter” or a “team player” or an “effective communicator.” It’s not that those qualities are bad or incorrect. It’s that, once again, they’re not specific enough. They don’t reflect the wide variety of ways teams operate. 

What does your team need from a new person to thrive? Maybe you don’t want a team player. Someone who puts their head down and gets their work done might be more successful on your uber-productive team. Describe that instead…how you want a person who gets their stuff done. 

One of the ways you can determine your team’s needs for your new hire is by observing your team operate in the now. That’s how you figure out everyone’s especially productive, but also introverted, for instance. We’re not saying you must hire another introvert in this (hypothetical) case. It’s on you to take your observations and decide if you require someone who’ll fill a gap by bringing new qualities to the table and/or possessing qualities that make your team effective as it stands today. 

Analyze the nuances of your team dynamics first. Then let them inform who you want to hire. 

2. Uncover Your Definition of “Fit”

Your team dynamics aren’t the only detail you should analyze as you’re looking to bring new talent aboard. If you’re tempted to use “fit” in your recruiting verbiage, you must discern what you’re truly trying to say by employing that term. 

More than likely, you’re trying to get at the soft skills someone should have to be an impactful member of your team and company. Technical skills are easy to pinpoint for job searchers. You’re looking for someone who can code in Python. But soft skills? They’re more, well, soft, fuzzy, and undefined. 

Observing your team will help you land on the soft skills you’re seeking. Following our earlier hypothetical, perhaps you need someone who’s not afraid to put the work in on their own. They’ll fit in with your team because they’re hardworking. But simply saying you need a “fit” doesn’t actually communicate the soft skills desired in a candidate. 

You should also ask candidates more descriptive questions during your screening process to see if they have the soft skills necessary for the job. Instead of “Are you a team player?” Try prompting, “Tell me about a time when you picked up the slack for a team member.” Everything keeps coming back to being specific and accurate — in how you present the role and your team, and in how candidates express themselves to you in return.

3. Mind Your Job Description Copy

You can’t attract talent that meets your needs if your job descriptions and job ads are full of the business jargon we’ve been discussing. Hopefully that much is clear by now. So, be sure to strip your documents of all generic language, especially varieties of “fit.” 

Instead, describe the team dynamics and soft skills you’ve uncovered from your analysis. Paint a picture of what it’s like to work on your team and at your company, as well as what you’re looking for in a new team member. 

Well-written job descriptions have the advantage of attracting only talent that’s qualified for the position. This saves you time in the long-run. 

You Won’t Miss Generalizations  

Working with a recruiter is advantageous when it comes to crafting job descriptions and coming up with hires that will be successful on your team. You’ll have such a complete view of your team, its needs, and the person you want to join your crew, you won’t have any use for words like “fit.”