Whether you've read Marcus Buckingham, Jim Collins, Jon Gordon, or any number of today's greats that write about job fit, you'll understand how devastating having the wrong person in the wrong job can be, and not only to the individual, but to the company as well.
Regardless of how experienced you are or how quickly you pick things up, there are certain inherent talents and skills—your strengths, as Marcus Buckingham refers to them—that you need to use daily to achieve complete job satisfaction and success. Any job that does not play to these strengths will at best be an okay fit and at worst a disaster.
Think back. Have you ever been in a job, project, or venture that is so much fun that it does not feel like work? Or even if it's challenging, you just feel good at the end of the day? Now think of the opposite. Have you had the misfortune of a job, project, or venture where you never quite get it and/or just feel exhausted at the end of the day? It's the difference between going with the tide or against it: the former energizes while the latter enervates.
If you are in the wrong job, you are not going to succeed and depending on how bad a fit the job is, you may even fail.
Having spent enough time recruiting, I know how challenging it is to interview people when you're understaffed and still have to get work done. You may be tempted to go with someone who seems to be a good enough fit, just so that you can get on with it and back to your day job. Don't! Take your time to think about what you need for that position, both skill-wise and mindset-wise, then prepare questions and scenarios to find and hire the right person for that job. Anything else will lead to your team not being at its best, you having more work and clean-up to do, and eventually you'll have a demoralized person and team, with even more work and clean-up for you.
And having spent enough time on the other side of the equation, and having made the mistake of taking the wrong job, I can tell you how miserable that type of failure feels. I won't tell you that it's better to be unemployed than be miserably employed, but I will recommend this be an absolute last resort.
So hire smart—right person, right strengths, right job—so that you have a happy, engaged, and productive employee. This will keep your team's morale up and free you to do your job.
Which side do you have experience with? What tips can you share to avoid this trap on either side?
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