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Employers value fit over qualifications

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Employers are not necessarily hiring the most qualified candidates these days. In fact, fit is believed to be a much stronger predictor of employee retention than qualifications according to Laura Rivera, professor at Northwestern University. “The longer employees stick around, the more companies save in hiring and on-boarding costs.”

Think of it from the employer’s perspective. If you had two equally qualified applicants to choose from would you hire the person who was warm and engaging in the interview or the one who had all the right answers but came across as arrogant and overly self confident?

Sadly, applicants who are rejected on the basis of fit may never understand the reason they were not hired. There are steps you can take however to determine if you are the right fit for your target company.

1. Do your research. Prior to your interview review Glassdoor for the company you will be interviewing with. Glassdoor lists over 285,000 interview questions categorized by company. Next, search for the company’s current or past employees on LinkedIn; get an introduction and request an informational phone meeting. Find out as much as you can about the work environment and culture to see if you would be happy working there. Company cultures can range from very formal to ultra casual. Where do you fit in?
2. Don’t oversell yourself. The last thing you want to do is to promise things you can’t deliver, thus setting yourself up for failure with your next employer. And, astute interviewers will read through your deceit anyway.
3. Make a personal connection. Winning an interview is all about making a connection with the interviewer. If you have difficulty engaging in meaningful conversation with the interviewer, chances are you are not a good fit. If the chemistry is not there don’t push it. You are better off continuing your search.
4. Tell me why you want to work here. This question is critical. If you don’t have a compelling reason why you want to work for the company you are just wasting time and everyone will know it. This is not the time to be tire kicking your way through a job search. The employer needs to know what it is about their organization that attracts you so that they can be reasonably assured you will stick around. If there is something about the company that intrigues you let them know it.
5. Ask intelligent questions. You should have at least a couple of questions to demonstrate your knowledge of what the company does, market challenges they are facing etc. Find out the specifics of the job as well so you can get a sense if it is the right one for you. Remember, the interview is a two way process. Employers love it when you evaluate them. It signifies you are being as selective as they are!

Determining fit is beneficial for both companies and applicants. Maybe you have your heart set on working at Google or Apple but have you considered whether or not you are well suited to work for those organizations? Better do your homework first. Companies have personalities just like people. Make sure yours is a good match with your next employer. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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