Hiring a New Employee: Person-Organizational Fit and Why It’s Important

By Sophia Xu

You need to bring on a new team member. You’ve interviewed and met with multiple outstanding candidates; now you need to make the decision: which person should you hire? Wait- before you send over that offer letter, consider that there are two main aspects to consider when determining whether the candidate should or should not be hired: job fit, which is what you most likely have already addressed, and organizational fit, which we will discuss more in this article.

We will discuss:

  • Job Fit

  • Cultural Fit

  • Person-Organization Fit Theory

Job Fit

First and foremost, when you are hiring, the candidate needs to meet the requirements of the role. An individual is considered a good match for a job if his or her background and experience aligns well with the job description and are able to carry out the responsibilities of the role. The concept of Job Fit helps an employer determine how well a potential candidate may be suited for the role.

Does the candidate fit all the requirements and qualifications of the role you are looking to fill? Do they have the experience to carry out the responsibilities of the role? Job fit and cultural fit, which we will talk about next, are assessed throughout the steps in the interview and hiring process. However, the vast majority of traditional questions asked during a phone screen, an interview, and traditional tests/assessments are used to evaluate a candidate’s job fit with the role. These are used to measure knowledge skills and abilities of an individual against the competencies required for the job. This can make hiring and predictability of an employee staying in a role, and being happy and productive there, less predictable than we would like. It also can make candidates blur together- there are a lot of qualified people out there, especially for entry level roles.

Let’s use that as an example for how to explain cultural fit: let’s pretend you have 2 potential hires who are both outstanding but you only have one position to fill. How will you decide which of the two to hire?

Cultural Fit

Here’s when you will want to consider cultural fit. You want to hire the right person for the organization, not only someone who is capable of getting the job done. You need to ask yourself, and the candidate:

  • Does his or her goals align with the company’s mission?

  • Will the individual be happy working within the organization? Why?

Like Job Fit, Cultural Fit is also evaluated throughout the interview and hiring process. For example, when interviewing candidates, you can ask questions that regarding core values and the culture of the organization. To do so, you need to define what your company culture is.

Your company’s culture should reflect the mission, values, and ethics of the organization. Different attributes contribute to a company’s culture, such as communication and employee engagement, leadership and decision making within the organization, and recognition of employee contributions. Matching a person to a job which they are capable of performing is important; however, matching a person to an organization in which he or she is compatible with is just as vital.

Person-Organization Fit Theory

The Person-Organization Fit Theory is the concept that describes the compatibility between people and organizations. This takes into consideration the compatibility between their values and expectations of the employee. Employees tend to be attracted to organizations that share similar values and goals as the individual.  When an employee obtains a position within an organization that meets his or her personal and professional requirements, it will encourage positive results.

For example, let’s take an example of a company hiring for a role that is very team-oriented and involves a lot of collaboration. If the candidate is capable of completing all the responsibilities required of the role, he or she would fall under the category of a good job fit. However, if this person is not fond of work that requires heavy communication and collaboration with other team members, he or she may not be a good culture fit. On the other hand, if the candidate can excel at all the responsibilities of the role and also strives to work with others in a collaborative environment, they would be a good fit for the job and the organization.  

How Person-Organization Fit Impacts Productivity

A good person-organization fit can positively impact one’s productivity and performance as well as job personal wellness. One study shows that there is a positive correlation between an employee’s culture fit within the organization and the employee’s longevity at a company. When an individual has higher job satisfaction, they will be more committed and thus, more likely to remain with the organization.

Some other benefits of person-organization fit include:

  • Higher quality of work and increased productivity

  • More efficient collaboration amongst team members

  • Improved employee retention

  • Increased levels of engagement, contribution, and creativity from employees

  • Happy employees make great company ambassadors!

What if you don’t use Person-Organization Fit?

On the other hand, a poor person-organization fit can lead to negative outcomes. Results of hiring an employee that does not fit well with the organization’s culture and values may cause lower job satisfaction and affect one’s mental health. This in turn will lead to lower rates of productivity and a higher turnover rate within the organization.

Some other consequences could include:

  • Increased physical and mental exhaustion and stress

  • Low morale within the team

  • Lack of individual and team motivation

  • Low productivity/ unsatisfactory work

  • Increased costs on hiring and training

  • Employee turnover increase

Conclusion

In the end, it is not a simple task to hire the perfect candidate. Being aware of different factors that contribute to an employee’s commitment to the organization and its values are important when pursuing a potential candidate. Determining whether a candidate is a good fit within the company will require effort that starts even before the interview, but a positive fit can benefit both the employee and the organization in the long run.