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Finding Your Best Fit

5 December 2023

Janie read Wrong Fit, Right Fit: Why How We Work Matters More Than Ever by André Martin and was thrilled to find a resource so full of actionable tips for employers trying to build their best teams and employees seeking to do their best work.

Tags: careers, janie read

Have you ever hired someone you thought was going to be the perfect fit for a role and then they start and seem like a different person than who you interviewed? What about in your own career? Have you ever thought you’d found the perfect job, only to realize you hate it? I imagine all of us have experienced this at one point or another. Finding the right people to fill open positions is very challenging. At the same time, finding the right position for yourself can sometimes feel like a guessing game, but it doesn’t have to.

In his book, Wrong Fit, Right Fit: Why How We Work Matters More Than Ever, André Martin shared numerous examples, thought provoking questions, and practical suggestions on how to find a better fit at work for yourself, as well as how to find a better fit when recruiting new talent for your organization.  

Peppered throughout the book are interviews Martin conducted where he asked people to describe their “wrong fit” and “right fit” experiences. The stories shared are powerful. In describing wrong fit, one interviewee said, “Everyone has a secret decoder ring for success, except for me” and nearly all interviewees who described “wrong fit” shared how dramatically the experience affected their mental health. In contrast, “right fit” was described as, “putting in the hours, but it doesn’t feel like work.” This kind of atmosphere is what we all strive for. So why is it so hard to find? Martin suggests that part of the problem is that we treat interviews as more of a “first date” where companies and candidates aim to portray themselves in the best possible light.

How can we combat this? Martin recommends that we change how we approach interviews. It all starts with asking good questions. This is true if you are the interviewer, but it’s equally true of the interviewee. If you want to assess whether a company will be a good fit for you, one of the best ways to do this is to ask questions during your interview that will help you better understand what it’s like to work there. Some questions to consider:

  • “What is the profile of the person who succeeds here?” (To help you better understand expectations and how you’re measured.)
  • “How does the company get work done?” (Every company has a specific way of working and knowing up front whether it clashes with your own can be extremely helpful. Martin also shared additional follow-up questions like “How does the company make decisions?” and “How is conflict resolved?” to help you get a better idea of the “way of working in action.”)
  • “What are your day-to-day duties?” (This can help you visualize what working at the company would really be like and whether you would enjoy it.)
  • What happens here that didn’t happen at the other companies you worked at previously?” (This can help you get a better idea about what is unique and different about this company.)

Asking a few of these questions can help you better understand the culture you’ll be joining and help you determine (before saying yes) whether the position will be a good fit for you. Asking questions and engaging in more dialogue is also helpful for the interviewer because it leads to a richer conversation, which will help differentiate you from other candidates by demonstrating your curiosity and making you more memorable.

When recruiting new talent, ask questions that push the candidate to share more about their lived experiences. I’ve written before about using open-ended questions to get a better sense of how someone will perform. Having a sense of strengths and gaps can be a very helpful way to assess whether a candidate will be a good fit for your team. I loved these questions Martin shared to help determine—What is their superpower? And what are their “shadow sides?”

  • What gaps do you fill in every company you have joined? (To understand how the candidate might go above and beyond their expected job duties.)
  • What do people come to you for? (To better understand where the candidate really shines.)
  • What areas are you attempting to hone? (To better understand areas of opportunity and the candidate’s self-awareness.)

I like these questions for interviewing, but they would also be valuable reflection questions if you’re trying to figure out your next career step and are not sure of your next move. Remember, interviews are not just about impressing the interviewer; they are also an opportunity for you to assess whether the company aligns with your needs and aspirations.

I encourage you to take a few minutes to consider how you might respond to these questions if you had to interview for your job today. Whether you’re involved with hiring or are currently in a “wrong fit” or a “right fit,” I think everyone would benefit from reading this book and reflecting on a few of the exercises and questions inside. In addition to the questions shared, Martin also includes numerous reflection exercises he calls “excursions” to help you really think through how to find your best fit. As Martin said, “Dedication is a daily choice. And right fit is awaiting us all if we look really hard for it and work everyday to keep it.” If you’re interested in learning more, Martin has a free weekly newsletter that comes out every Monday with additional tips and insights into his work.


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