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hiring for fit 

Overview, Chapter Contents and Reviews

Hiring for Fit: A Key Leadership Skill

By Janet Webb

A key skill for any leader is the ability to hire a great team. This skill requires an in-depth knowlege of the complex subject of fit. Many organizations go about hiring in the wrong way because their leaders don't fully understand the concept of fit. The results are poor performance and costly turnover.

Hiring for Fit gets to the heart of what fit really means and provides expert insight for anyone involved in making hiring decisions.

Janet Webb has studied the personality traits and attributes of successful hires and has developed a system to hire the right fit for any role. This system recognizes that each role is unique and requires specific traits for success. The entire process outlined in the book, from identifying and screening top talent to onboarding new hires and supporting the development of senior leaders, is an application of Janet Webb's unique Trait Alignment Protocol (TAP), which is the key to identifying fit and maintaining fit over the long term.

Hiring for Fit is available to purchase online through Business Expert Press in both Print and E-book.

ONLINE: Print and E-book orders CLICK HERE

PHONE: Print book orders, 1-800-632-0880 (9am-9pm Monday-Friday EST)

Janet2020For more than 30 years, Janet Webb has tracked and advanced the careers of professionals, becoming a recognized expert in executive search, outplacement, career and business coaching and in hiring-related management consulting. She has acquired a detailed understanding of the hiring criteria and practices in all major industry sectors, including financial services, manufacturing, retail, real estate, mining, hi-tech, health care and not-for-profit.

The Best Interview Questions

Revealing questions are more effective than behavioural questions in establishing fit in interviews.

Revealing questions:

  • Are open-ended
  • Are easy to respond to
  • Encourage candidates to talk freely about themselves

When answering revealing questions, a candidate will typically provide you with a surprising amount of insight into their personality. This is especially true if the tone and body language of the interviewer expresses curiosity and interest, rather than judgment.

From any single question, you are likely to obtain information about numerous traits, such as confidence, decision-making ability, respect for the opinions of others, cooperativeness, intellectual capacity and initiative, to name just a few. Here are some examples:

  • If you were hiring a direct report, what personal qualities would you most look for?
  • What kind of support would you need to be successful in this role?
  • What qualities in your coworkers bother you the most?
  • What qualities do you appreciate most in others?
  • What is the easiest/most difficult part of your most recent role? Why?
  • What work setting have you liked the most? Why?
  • If you could change anything about your present role, what would it be?
  • What aspect of success is most important to you?
  • If your career was progressing more slowly than you wanted, what would you do?

Revealing Questions for Specific Fit Traits

Interviewers can select open-ended questions that target specific traits but should remain open to answers that move in unexpected directions. Examples include:


  • For which elements of the role would you like to have complete accountability?


  • How do you think that a boss should best support their direct report?

Ability to Motivate Others

  • How would you handle a direct report who seems unable to take direction?

Decision-Making Ability

  • If you needed to make a decision based on incomplete information, how might you handle the situation?

Questions that Probe Deeper

Even though revealing questions are more likely than behavioural questions to get candidates talking freely, many candidates will not be used to an interview that encourages a free flow of information. They may be a little shy or they may deliberately hold back. If an answer sounds superficial or you feel that you’re not getting the full story, you might ask the following types of questions to go deeper:

  • Can you tell me more about that?
  • How do you feel about that?
  • What might your other options be?
  • What other ideas/feelings do you have about it?
  • How do you think your colleagues would respond to that idea?
  • What result would you predict?What additional support would you need to accomplish that?
  • If that approach/method/action failed, what would you do then? And if that alternate approach/method/action also didn’t work, what would you do then?

Apart from providing more insight into personality traits, these secondary questions, asked with sincere interest in the answers, will shift the interview to more of a conversational exchange. This marks the beginning of rapport-building with the individual who may be joining your organization.


Determining whether a candidate is a fit with a specific role in your organization clearly involves a lot more than just asking questions in an interview.

At JW Associates, we have developed a complete fit-based approach to hiring which is outlined in Hiring for Fit: A Key Leadership Skill, by Janet Webb. Published by Business Expert Press in 2020, it is available in print and e-book.

If you would like to utilize this fit-based approach in your organization, Janet Webb is available to support you through our MANAGEMENT CONSULTING SERVICES


Please e-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to schedule a complimentary phone call to discuss next steps in enhancing your success rate in hiring candidates who are “THE RIGHT FIT”.


Janet Webb, President Profile

For more than 30 years, Janet Webb has tracked and advanced the careers of professionals, becoming a recognized expert in executive search, outplacement, career and business coaching, and hiring-related management consulting. She has acquired a detailed understanding of the hiring criteria and practices in all major industry sectors, including financial services, manufacturing, retail, real estate, mining, high-tech, health care, and not-for-profit. She has worked closely with a wide range of leaders, from CEOs to line managers, in a wide range of functional areas, including finance, operations, human resources, systems, sales, and administration.

Janet founded JW Associates International Inc. in Toronto, Canada, in 2003 to bring together two elements: a passion for conducting high-quality retained executive searches and a commitment to supporting leaders in optimizing their careers. The focus at JW Associates has been to understand fully the concept of fit from both the client’s and the candidate’s perspectives.

Before founding JW Associates, Janet was a Partner at the search firm Lannick Associates in Toronto. She began her career as a teacher, having obtained her Bachelor of Education degree, with honors, from the University of Alberta.

Janet’s speaking engagements have included workshops for Fortune 500 companies on retention and hiring challenges and presentations to CEOs, HR professionals, and recruiters on how to hire, retain, and advance top talent. She has also worked with growing companies on organizational structure and design and on building high-performing teams.

Janet has self-published two books. Interview to Offer: The Definitive Guide to Establishing Fit and Landing the Job, published in e-book format in 2011, provides practical and effective guidance to candidates on demonstrating fit in an interview. Hiring for Keeps: How to Hire Outstanding Employees Who Fit, Stay and Add to the Bottom Line, published in print and e-book formats in 2015, provides insight on hiring for fit. She distributed this book in Canada, where the Globe and Mail named it as one of the Top 10 Leadership and Management Books of 2015.

In 2018, Janet was recognized as one of the top three finalists in the Talent Catalyst category of the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s 8th Annual Business Excellence Awards.

Janet’s current focus is on consulting with leaders through her management consulting practice in order to share the ideas described in her most recent book, Hiring for Fit: A Key Leadership Skill, published by Business Expert Press in 2020.



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