​We have all heard it. Whether you have been the candidate, recruitment consultant, internal talent manager or someone who is part of the interview process, we have all heard the interview feedback; ‘they’re just not quite the right fit’. Other examples might include, ‘they just don’t fit in with the client and what the client needs’, ‘the cultural fit is not right’, ‘we can’t see them in the pub with the rest of the team’ and the list goes on and on.

Last weekend, I found myself in a similar predicament. Whilst I was browsing the local Sunday market, I came across a lovely bunch of dried flowers, which were beautifully hand made by a very proud owner. I couldn’t resist and bought them. I got home and I placed them where I thought they would look great, but they really did not. So, I moved them to another spot in the living room, and then another and then another but they just didn’t fit in. They did not go with the theme of the room, nor the colour scheme or the style of the other decorations in the room.

Bear with me here, I have not lost the plot…

I took a step back and thought to myself, why did I buy these flowers? The answer was simple, I really liked them and in somewhat of a cheesy way, they made me happy when I looked at them. They were bright, colourful, and smelled delicious – everything you would want in flowers and they served their purpose perfectly.

You are now probably thinking, why am I talking to you about a bunch of flowers. So, let us think about candidates instead. Imagine you interview a candidate and they fit the job – they can do mostly everything (because let’s face it no one can do everything on a job spec) that you are asking for and they would be great in the position. But similar to my slightly odd flowers, they don’t quite fit. Maybe, they will not get the team ‘banter’ – yes, I have had this feedback. Or they are just too loud, or not assertive enough, or too strong minded. Therefore, you reject them based on your opinion that they are not the right fit.

With my flowers, however, I decided I loved them so much, I was going to make them fit in. I moved them around my living room a couple more times and I did exactly that. I moved a couple of other things around too, but that means they now proudly sit as the centre piece on my mantelpiece. Success!

Just like that, you can benefit from recruiting people who don’t seem to fit the rest of the team.

Diversity is a hot topic at the moment and especially so in hiring processes, but if we want true diversity in the workplace we need to hire people that DON’T FIT, because those hires will be your positive disruptors, those hires will be the ones that ask ‘why do we do it like this?’ and ‘why don’t we try this?’. They will help you think outside the box, they will bring value by being able to relate to a client or stakeholder in a different way, they will bring the team together in a different way and just do things differently.

It’s not easy, we can all acknowledge that, but we can also do a lot more. Next time, you hear a hiring manager give you this feedback, positively challenge them. Next time, you go to reject a candidate because they are not the right fit, think about how you can change the team, structure, or processes to make them fit. Otherwise, you’ll be missing out on some great hires.