How to Consistently Find the Right Employee for the Right Job

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When we started Intergrowth in 2016, we knew very little about hiring. By the end of 2022, we’d conducted hundreds of interviews and hired over 100 people, 50 of whom are still on the team today. 

However, we’ve made offers to and hired a handful of great individuals who held great traits yet didn’t work out on our team in the long term.


We didn’t hire them for the right role.

Today, we’re sharing the three elements we analyze to find the right employee for the job — ensuring the applicant we speak to is the right fit for the job we’re hiring for.

Hiring for Job Placement Fit

Job placement fit is about ensuring an applicant is the right person for this particular role based on hiring timelines, budget constraints, and day-to-day responsibilities. Here’s the three-part framework that helps us reduce interview times and find the right long-term applicant for a given job.

1. Ideal Start Date

One of the first questions we ask all applicants is their ideal start date. Some applicants will be ready to start tomorrow. Some want to take a month-long vacation before beginning their next job.

There’s no right or wrong answer. However, if an applicant is looking to start in two months and you need to fill a job by next week, this job isn’t the right fit for them.

Let them know and cut the interview ten minutes in. Previously, we did not ask this question until the second or third interview, only to find that the timing wouldn’t work out. Asking this earlier allows you to cut the interview and give an hour back to yourself and the applicant.

They’ll be disappointed but will appreciate you sparing an hour of their time in the long term.

2. Pricing Transparency

Being transparent on salary is wise. First, define a salary range depending on experience and where the applicant lives. Then, list it on your job application. The salary range will cut the number of irrelevant applicants in half.

We ask all applicants to answer a handful of pre-interview screener questions. One of those questions is asking all applicants to share their desired salary. If an applicant responds and lists a salary above our range for the position, we restate the salary range for the role and ask if this salary range would work for them.

We end the conversation if they aren’t interested in a job that pays within our salary range. This shift will save you from the experience of sending an applicant an offer and having them request double the starting salary.

3. Ideal Day-to-Day Responsibilities

The most painful hiring mistake I’ve made is hiring the right person but assigning them the wrong day-to-day responsibilities.

Here’s our preferred litmus test to assess for day-to-day responsibilities fit.

I like to simplify most of our team’s day-to-day work into three groups:

  1. Strategy/implementation — everything related to creating and fulfilling services we deliver to clients
  2. Client communications — all discussions with clients, whether through email, in-person meetings, or phone calls
  3. Project management/internal team communications — overseeing tasks handled by other team members to ensure client feedback is conveyed and deliverables are completed on time

Note: This grouping will vary depending on your industry. I’d encourage you to identify three broad buckets that apply to your business and tweak the following process.

In interviews, we ask applicants to define their ideal time breakdown between the three tasks using intervals of 25%. For example, one applicant might state their ideal day would be spending 75% of the day on client communications and 25% on strategy/implementation.

Many applicants respond with vague answers or “I’d like to spend my time equally on all three.” Follow up and ask for a firm answer on the 25% intervals.


25% intervals will force applicants to choose one area where they want to spend 50% of their time.

If you’re hiring for a client-facing role, but the applicant only wants to spend 25% of their day speaking to clients, this isn’t the proper role for them. In this case, broaden your scope and see if any other open positions might be a better fit for them. If not, wrap up the interview and see if you can reconnect with them when a more relevant position opens up.

The goal is to evaluate which of the three areas they want to spend the most time on. Treat a response of 50% client-facing and 75% client-facing as the same: the applicant wants to spend most of their time working with clients. 

Learn More About How to Find the Right Employee

Try this out for your next job opening when you’re trying to find the right employee.

Ask applicants about their ideal start date as the first question in the interview. Next, list a salary range and ask applicants to share their desired salary. Finally, ask them how they want to spend a typical workday.

Adding these three elements to our hiring process has reduced the number of irrelevant applicants and reduced interview times. I’m confident they will serve you well.

If you’re interested in learning more about recruiting and hiring, make sure that you check out Recruiter Todaythe online publication on all things recruiting.


Pat Ahern is a Partner and Growth Strategist at Intergrowth.

By Pat Ahern