Why I use Can-Will-Fit principle to hire

Can, Will and Fit drives the ultimate match!

Being consistent in a process will produce many benefits, especially if it is an effective one.

After 30 years as a HR Practitioner, I have seen many different approaches to the hiring process – I am sure you have, too. Each method has its pros and cons, its believers, and naysayers. Ultimately, Hiring people is about ensuring you have the ‘right’ person at the right time, in the right place. The last two are fairly simple. however, finding the ‘right’ person is predominantly the challenge.

Let’s start with a scenario you may be familiar with:

A company is hiring a new position, the job title is Account Manager. The Line Manager believes they know all about the job and don’t need to write a job profile. In a brief email, they tell the HR Department what they are looking for.

“Dear HR, I have approval to hire an Account Manager ASAP. Please start the hiring process and find me 5 candidates to interview ASAP.”

The HR Department commences the search using a local job board. The advertisement reads:

Hiring Account Manager. Your role is to look after all Sales Accounts for five customers, supporting their orders and customer service.

After 3 weeks, the company receives 15 applicants. The HR Manager does the first filter by looking at the CVs. If they don’t have any Account Management experience, they are rejected. We now have 8 applicants remaining. The HR Manager now shares them with the hiring manager.

Let’s take a moment to pause and assess the situation. At this point:

  • The applicant is not aware of the company and job details
  • The HR Manager is not aware of the full job requirements
  • The hiring manager believes they are aware of all the requirements

The hiring manager shortlists 4 applicants that will be interviewed.They are invited to the office to be interviewed by the hiring manager and HR Manager.

The Hiring Manager starts the interview by asking the candidate “Tell me about yourself”. Each candidate shares their story, and as they do, the Managers are starting to formulate their opinion. It is clear the Mr. X did a great job of explaining his career history, is very articulate and confident about what he has achieved versus the other candidates who are less effective in communicating their career history and achievements. Mr. X is hired and starts in 1 month, after their notice period.

Two weeks after hiring Mr. X, many questions start to surface. Mr. X is not happy with the rigid working hours and is expecting flexitime. He is also starting to share that the 120 Km drive each day is not as easy as he thought, and is feeling tired each day. Finally, his Manager is not happy with his performance because he is not selling as much as he should be.

One month later, Mr. X is terminated. Mr. X has to look for a new job, the company has to spend 1-2 months searching for a replacement candidate, and Sales will not meet their target due to lack of an effective Account Manager.

The above scenario is real and happens everyday.

Let’s contrast that with a standardised approach that can be used consistently to deliver better results. This approach will help all Hiring Managers, and that is the reason we have built PiAmmo based on this framework.

The Hiring Manager meets with the HR Manager to complete a full job profile, using the Can, Will and Fit model of recruitment. A full session can take anything between 15-60 minutes depending on how much information is prepared previously. You will save time, money and chaos, but more importantly, have a good impact on business by taking these steps.

Can they do the job?

This involves zeroing in on the ability of the candidate – ie what does the ideal candidate require in terms of knowledge, qualifications, experience, skills and abilities to capably do the job? A thorough understanding of these key criteria will really help in the search. Try to consider this realistically instead of simply stating a qualification, like “Bachelor degree”. Someone with Vocational qualification and 3-5 years experience can often help you achieve your performance goals better than someone with a degree.

Past experience predicts future delivery – I love the simplicity of this statement and it’s generally true. People can often replicate success in similar situations.

I’m often asked why I don’t hire people without any selling experience for Sales roles. My reply often goes like this – generally the success rate is low, because people ‘think’ they can sell. It’s only after the 100th door is slammed in their face they realize they are not resilient enough and probably won’t be successful. If the sales job is commission based, they probably won’t make any money.

Another consideration to gauge ability is the career level of the person. Yes, many people think they can be a Managing Director – however, if you are a Supervisor today then it would be a challenge. Additionally, I’d say certain positive discrimination areas are appropriate, e.g. I believe a Malaysian Sales person will (generally) have a better chance of selling to a Malaysian versus a Thailand national.

Will they do the job?

This involves agreeing on the motivational aspects of the role that will affect whether the candidate will deliver the job expectation. This is an area where we really need to dig deep – to understand how interesting your job is ‘really’, versus just needing a job or doing it for only a salary increment. In my experiences, the key areas that I have found to impact motivation are as expected – location from home, amount of time on the job (if family oriented), level of job, who they are reporting to, career contribution, development and compensation.

More important but often not investigated is the contextual motivation around areas of the job that we (the employer) already know. Again, the principle of the ‘past predicts the future’ can guide you. e.g. if someone has been in a situation where they have been successful in all their jobs, however, they were selling a Brand that is well known, how well will they sell for a brand that is new to the market?

Will they fit in?

The company’s customers, culture, leadership style, work environment, ethics and team demographics can really impact whether a candidate wants to join your company. They also decide whether they will fit and succeed in the position. Being clear about who you are, your expectations, and then interviewing against these criteria will ensure that you have a clear understanding from the start.

My latest example is a company who works virtually and with many nationalities around the world, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea to be working differing hours or to be as collaborative as the Swiss!

In summary – GO SLOW TO GO QUICK. By talking time at the beginning of the process to fully document in a consistent format you can deliver a much more effective outcome. The candidate should have sufficient detailed information to ‘self-filter’ and important part of the process as it saves us time with the ‘looking around’ candidates. It also helps the more serious candidates to choose what matches with them. Ultimately, it will save resources, time, money and frustration. A great match in the Can, Will and Fit will lead to a productive, performing and happy employee, i.e. a enduring relationship.

Author: Richard Cowley