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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

The Art of Analyzing Candidate Fit


What is the first thing you do when you get a completed assessment on a candidate? You look to see if he or she is recommended or not, right? But what is the second thing you should consider with a recommended candidate? You should think about fit. How will the candidate fit with your organization and with your team?

We have all heard managers say, "What does it matter?! A talented person will fit in anywhere!" While it’s true that it may be easier to coach a talented person versus someone with fewer talents, it’s also true that if a new hire’s talents don’t mesh well with the rest of the team, the new hire can create a real problem. So what are some areas to look at when it comes to fit?


This is perhaps the most important area to look at when it comes to fit: how competitive a candidate is.  Are your candidates “sharks,” who have to win at all costs and will do ANYTHING to get that win or that sale?  Or are they “dolphins,” who prefer to swim with the pod? Dolphins are not focused on beating others, but focused on what’s good for the team and their own personal goals. Either talent can be a great addition to your team, or a big problem, so it’s important to first take a look at your team's makeup.  

Are most of you team members highly competitive, or are they mostly team players?  Putting a shark into your dolphin team can create resentment and a bad atmosphere, because they aren’t like the rest of the team. And a dolphin, put in your group of sharks, is going to be miserable; it's likely your sharks will resent the dolphin for not pulling his or her own weight.  Either can cause a breakdown on your team, so when you look at your candidate’s graph, ask yourself, "Is this candidate a shark or a dolphin, and what are my team and I looking for?"

Work Style

Another important area to look at for fit is the candidate’s work style.  Is the new candidate like the “hare” or the “tortoise”?  Someone with a strong work ethic and intensity, but perhaps lower discipline, is always to going to want to do more, move quickly, and be very busy, but perhaps not as precise.  Whereas a lower work intensity combined with discipline is going to move a bit slower but be more deliberate and accurate.  Again, either set of talents can be an asset to your team, but you want to be careful not to pair your tortoises with your hares.  They will frustrate each other and likely end up frustrating you.

Persuasion and Commitment

And what about that always-important ability to gain commitment from others? To close. Strength is this area is always important. For most managers, it’s a must. But a strong talent in commanding and persuading others, especially combined with high work intensity and lower people skills, can create that bulldozer effect when one person on the team pushes others to do things his or her way and ignores their feelings. So again we have the question, "Do the others on your team have the command to stand up and make their feeling heard, or are they going to get run over by your new hire and end up resenting the new hire?"

Here is where the talent assessments you have on your team members and your team composites can be very helpful in deciding on your candidate’s fit. Where will they mesh beautifully with your team, and where may there be some potential conflicts? When you review their assessment, make sure you bring up potential issues with your existing team, and work with your analyst to develop some work-arounds. Thinking ahead and being prepared can ease your new hire into his or her position and create a great working relationship for your whole team.

Talent is only a strength when the fit is right.