Right Fit AND Right Growth

Are you looking for the right fit candidate for your institution or for the right growth candidate? Or both?

Photo by Francesco Gallarotti on Unsplash

“No matter how effective your organization’s recruitment tactics are, there’s never a guarantee an employee will live up to expectations – even if they seem to be the perfect cultural fit.

You’ll know you’re on the right track, however, if you see a diverse, unified, and happy set of employees who are motivated to help achieve business objectives.”

-Megan McNeill, The Pros and Cons of Hiring for Cultural Fit

Both Can Be True

Are you looking for the right fit candidate for your institution or for the right growth candidate? Often times in hiring groups, I would hear members discuss a candidate and make comments such as:

‘That person would fit right in with our team.’

‘This candidate is a great fit for our institution.’

‘This candidate can slide right into our group so easily. They would barely need any onboarding.’

In hiring groups, we are at times faced with making a decision between two types of candidates: the candidate that might be the known candidate and the unknown candidate. The known candidate could be easy to hire for the short term, maybe they are even the internal candidate. The right fit candidate may be so much of a fit that they do not think differently or bring in new ideas, keeping the status quo instead of fostering growth and change. The unknown candidate might need more onboarding or support initially but may actually help the institution to grow long-term. We see this as an ‘either or’ option. What if we saw this as a ‘yes and’? We can find candidates that would be a great fit for our teams and push us towards growth. Both can be true. 

Moving Towards Growth: Creating a Candidate Profile

Somewhere in every institution’s strategic initiative plan is the word GROWTH. If your institution is moving towards growth then you need to seek candidates who will help to grow your institution. Creating a framework for the ideal candidate is a crucial step. Take the time to reflect and discuss with your team. Research the culture of your team and your institution. Think about balancing the candidate who will fit in the current culture and who will also make your culture grow.  

A company’s culture is certainly influential to the productivity and overall happiness of its workers. Having a highly engaged workplace should be a top priority, but simply hiring someone because they would fit in well with the group is a terrible mistake to make.”


You might consider candidates who…

  • Bring new ideas and perspectives from their past professional experiences in different institutions.
  • Ask good questions.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Reflect thoughtfully.
  • Show curiosity.
  • Think flexibly and see alternative solutions for existing issues.
  • Can find an issue that you did not even know existed and help you towards a path to a solution.
  • Reflects the current population that you are trying to serve.

We need to reframe our thinking. Maybe the ‘right fit’ candidate is not the asset, especially when you are leaning towards growth. The candidate that may push us towards growth may look, feel, and sound different from those within our team and institution and that may be the asset that pushes us toward achieving our strategic plan and ultimately growth. A candidate can do both: be a good cultural fit and push you towards growth. Take the time to think about who you are looking for and map it out. This will be one crucial step toward hiring your ideal candidate.