Are You Making Magic?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard a lot of talk about “job fit” these days.

Most notable, perhaps, was all the election chatter asking Americans to choose this or that candidate as most “fit” for a specific public office.

Then along came Christian Ponder who struggled as Vikings’ quarterback — so much so that disgruntled fans questioned whether he is “fit” for the position.

And Steve Jobs. In October when we passed the one year anniversary of Jobs’ death, I again saw a focus on those two little words “job fit.”

You see, in the human resources field and especially throughout the Profiles family, we talk a great deal about job fit. We know that when the right people are in the right jobs at the right companies…magic can happen.

Steve Jobs certainly made magic happen throughout his life. He also was a huge advocate for people finding their ideal job fit.

You know, of course, that Steve Jobs founded the Apple Inc., the computer and electronics company. He considered himself “lucky” to have discovered work that he loved early in life and, of course, for achieving success quickly as Apple became a $2 billion company within 10 years.

He was fired from this company he created, though he eventually returned. After his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in 2004, he described his feelings of failure (and confusion) during that tough time apart from Apple, and he identified what kept him going.

“I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did,” he said. “You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

This paragraph packs a punch, doesn’t it?

As individuals, we know this, of course. We know that we are uniquely gifted to do certain things. Certain types of work bring out the best in us — they engage our talents, interests and passion. And when we’re working in areas where we are not only skilled but also passionate, look out. Great things can happen.

We know this as employers, too. As employers, we don’t want employees who are merely capable of doing their jobs. We’d rather have people who really love their jobs; people excited by their work. We know that these highly-engaged employees are also highly productive and tremendous assets for our team.

Great things can happen in your organization when you have engaged, productive employees who do good work, and the path to these highly motivated employees travels through job fit.

In job fit, two things in particular play a big role:

1) We are who we are. By this I mean we all have a natural bent.

Let me illustrate with a story about my friend’s puppy, an English springer spaniel — a hunting dog—named Sam. When my friend throws a training dummy or a ball or even a clump of mud, Sam excitedly sprints to retrieve it. My friend didn’t have to teach him this; Sam simply knows that when something is thrown, he should go after it and bring it back.

What does this mean for you? It means that just as my friend looked for innate hunting instincts in a dog, you need to find your candidate’s or employee’s natural talent — his or her God-given ability to do something well, over and over again.

2) Jobs are what they are. By this I mean that each job has specific requirements.

I’m always struck by how often employers think it's an employee's responsibility to apply for jobs that fit their personality not realizing that people rarely think about whether or not they would enjoy a particular job. Most job seekers look at the salary, education requirements, location, or benefits package; they don’t analyze the job as a whole.

What does this mean for you?  It means you must analyze your position and know what personality and talents it requires. 

Here’s the thing. As complicated as it seems, job fit is simply the successful intersection of who your employee is with what the job is.

Bottom line: I don’t know if the people of this nation chose leaders best fit for their jobs. Nor do I know how to fix Christian Ponder. What I do know is that if you marry a person’s innate abilities with the requirements of a particular job and work environment, you will have highly productive employees doing good work for you. You’ll make magic happen.

Tips: Six Factors to Consider When Assessing Job Fit

When selecting an employee, you need to identify her traits, and, yes, you need to know what your job requires. But there’s more. Here are some factors to consider when you assess a candidate’s potential job fit:

There are other components that indicate job fit, but these cover most bases.

One more thing: While it’s clear that assessing job fit is important in the hiring process, it may not be as clear that you should use it at other times: when an employee expresses unhappiness in his current role, for example, or if you discover that an employee is job searching. In these cases, start by examining job fit. To keep your employee, you may need only find him a new position suited to his talents. Read on to learn about a tool that can help.

Your Solution Toolbox: Help In Making Your Employees More Valuable and Productive

Profiles’ Performance Indicator™ is a personality style employee performance assessment you can use to help make every employee more valuable and productive. It will help you understand an employee’s behavioral characteristics. Further, it will help you use this knowledge to increase his performance.

Here’s how it works: Through performance assessments, the Performance Indicator™ measures: 

Using results from these assessments the Performance Indicator™ provides reports that show how to understand, motivate and manage an employee. It also provides recommendations for improving employee performance. For example, it will help you understand how your employee responds to job-related stress, frustration and conflict. It also will show you how to stimulate an employee’s motivation, how to conduct effective performance appraisal, and how to determine whether the employee is internally motivated or will need external stimulation.

If you are interested in learning more about Profiles’ Performance Indicator™? Call me today at 952-322-3330 or send an email to

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