What Is Job Fit and Why Does It Matter?


What Is Job Fit and Why Does It Matter

A breakdown of job fit, its implications, and how to obtain it.
Steve Jobs was the ultimate proponent of job fit.

He’s quoted as saying, “I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

If today were the last day of your life, would you do what you are about to do today?

While you might not have the same amount of clout or discretion as the late Steve Jobs, the underlying message is clear. You should regularly take stock of your job and ask yourself—is this really what I want?

Over the last six months, organizations have made all sorts of changes, ranging from compensation reductions, work-from-home policies, and strategic reinventions. These organization-level adjustments will undoubtedly trickle down to your day-to-day lives at work and at home. The time is right for a job fit reevaluation.

An important first step, however, is acknowledging that work is a multi-faceted creature. To decide the proper next steps, you need a nuanced assessment of your situation. It’s only then that you can properly plan out the next steps.

Along these lines, outlined below are considerations and recommendations for the most popular dimensions of job-related fit.

But first, consider taking this 12-question job fit assessment to see how you compare to your peers.
This free, validated assessment aligns with the dimensions described below.

1. Person-Job, Demand-Ability Fit

Demand-ability job fit entails the extent to which your knowledge, skills, and abilities align with the demands of your day-to-day work tasks. Interestingly, the demand-ability fit is a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, when you have a demand-ability fit, you are likely to be a high performer. On the other hand, the demand-ability fit might signal that it’s time to seek out new experiences that help you grow and develop.

It’s possible to create a productive form of misfit, such that your demands are slightly greater than your abilities. Take caution, however, because if you are significantly underqualified, your next step should be to work with your supervisor to redefine your role.

Another scenario—when you are stuck in a job where your abilities are significantly greater than your demands—is likely to lead to boredom. Try finding mentors in new departments with different skillsets and start attaching yourself to new initiatives that you find interesting.

Regardless of where you find yourself along the demand-ability fit spectrum, it’s up to you to proactively craft your work tasks and relationships to ensure that you are setting yourself up for success.

Read 10 Major Differences Between Successful and Unsuccessful People

2. Person-Job, Need-Supply Fit

As human beings, we have three innate psychological needs, including the need to be in control, the need to be competent, and the need to relate to and connect with others. Need-supply fit entails the extent to which your job satisfies these three needs.

Although these needs are considered universal, people differ on exactly how much they want.

While some individuals prefer extreme levels of autonomy, others prefer a bit more structure. While some individuals prefer constantly learning and trying out new things, others want to feel confident in doing what they do best. While some individuals enjoy seeking out a wide range of supportive peers, others confide in a few, select individuals.

Read 70+ Best Attitude Quotes That Will Change Your Attitude Towards Life

It’s important to know where you fall along this continuum and ensure that you seek out the amount that you prefer. When individuals are undersupplied, they typically feel unfulfilled and less satisfied. When individuals are oversupplied, they typically become emotionally exhausted and disengaged.

Similar to demand-ability fit, you likely have some capacity to proactively manipulate your work surroundings. Pay attention to whether you have a need-supply fit and then work towards establishing new boundaries or creating new opportunities.

3. Person-Organization Fit

One way to understand person-organization fit is to start with the idea of values—the things that you find important. Organizational culture is partly determined by the values of the individuals within that organization, as well as the shared norms stemming from those values. Person-organization fit, then, entails the extent to which you feel as if your personal values align with the values of the organization and its members.

Person-organization job fit is a strong predictor of whether or not someone will be committed to an organization in the long-term. Additionally, individuals who feel higher levels of this type of fit typically enjoy being at work and connecting with colleagues. In turn, they tend to engage in citizenship behaviors such as helping their peers or advocating for their organization.

It’s quite common for someone to attempt to acclimate to the values and culture of an organization because earning a paycheck is more important than finding fit. In the long-term, this typically relates to feeling like an outsider, which can be psychologically taxing.

For those that do experience a value-misalignment with their organization, it can sometimes be offset by person-job fit. It’s therefore important to weigh the pros and cons of leaving an organization, and perhaps first consider focusing on creating the ideal job through need-supply and/or demand-ability fit.

Read Top 3 Tips To Create A Meaningful Vision In Your Life

4. Person-Vocation Job Fit

Person-vocation job fit entails the extent to which you identify with your vocation. Note that your vocation is broader than your job or organization; it encompasses your occupation or profession at large. When individuals identify with their vocation, they feel as if their vocation appropriately represents who they are and what they care about as a person.

Interestingly, the person-vocation fit has a relatively weak correlation with job satisfaction and work performance. Instead, this type of fit is a strong signal of your aspirations.

If you feel as if you don’t have a person-vocation fit, it suggests that you don’t feel like you have reached your full potential. If this is the case, it might be time to reevaluate which professions you are drawn to. This is likely to help facilitate high-quality self-reflection as it relates to your career goals.

Read 22 Rules For Living A Better Life By World’s Leading Psychiatrist

How All This “Fits” Together

Like it or not, your work fit will never be perfect. If it is, it’s unlikely to last forever. Think of job fit as four ongoing considerations that should be assessed and cultivated over time. If you can do that, you’ll increase your odds of being more satisfied and fulfilled at work.

So go ahead and take Steve Jobs’ advice. Look in the mirror and ask yourself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” You don’t have to do anything drastic—sometimes small, targeted changes can make all the difference.

Visit www.scottdust.com for more free resources for human capital enthusiasts.

1. Sylva, H., Mol, S.T., Den Hartog, D.N. and Dorenbosch, L., 2019. Person-job fit and proactive career behaviour: A dynamic approach. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology28(5), pp.631-645.
2. Kristof‐Brown, A.L., Zimmerman, R.D. and Johnson, E.C., 2005. Consequences OF INDIVIDUALS'FIT at work: A meta‐analysis OF person–job, person–organization, person–group, and person–supervisor fit. Personnel psychology58(2), pp.281-342.
3. Kilroy, S., Flood, P.C., Bosak, J. and Chênevert, D., 2017. Perceptions of high‐involvement work practices, person‐organization fit, and burnout: A time‐lagged study of health care employees. Human Resource Management56(5), pp.821-835.
4. Ehrhart, K.H. and Makransky, G., 2007. Testing vocational interests and personality as predictors of person-vocation and person-job fit. Journal of Career Assessment15(2), pp.206-226.
5. Sirén, C., Thorgren, S. and Järlström, M., 2018. Self-directed career management and mobility: the risk of lock-in effects from person-job fit. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, pp.1-22.
6. Sylva, H., Mol, S.T., Den Hartog, D.N. and Dorenbosch, L., 2019. Person-job fit and proactive career behaviour: A dynamic approach. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology28(5), pp.631-645.
7. Roulin, N. and Krings, F., 2020. Faking to fit in: Applicants’ response strategies to match organizational culture. Journal of Applied Psychology105(2), p.130.
8. Wu, I.H. and Chi, N.W., 2020. The journey to leave: Understanding the roles of perceived ease of movement, proactive personality, and person-organization fit in overqualified employees' job searching process. Journal of Organizational Behavior41(9), pp.851-870.

Written by: Scott Dust, Ph.D
Originally appeared on: Psychology Today
Republished with permission 
What Is Job Fit and Why Does It Matter pin

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Up Next

7 Things That Can Tell You A Lot About Someone

Tell You A Lot About a person

Do you trust people at face value? Or do you analyze their attitude, body language, and behavior first to know them better?

Being able to read people is a superpower that can help us build better relationships and avoid toxic people. 

In this article, we are going to explore how subtle mannerisms and behaviors of people can reveal a lot about their real self.

When you know what to observe, you will be able to understand someone better and know their real personality.

Here are 7 things that can tell you a lot about a person

1. Their body language

Up Next

What Is A Psychonaut? Uncovering The World Of Mind Explorers 

Beyond Consciousness What Is A Psychonaut Signs

Do you want to explore the edges of your mind? Do you like to stretch your mind and navigate its farthest limits? Do you prefer entering altered states of consciousness to learn more about your inner self? Then you just might be a psychonaut. What is a psychonaut, you ask? Let's dig in.

Warning: This article involves discussion about the controlled use of different substances like psychedelics and hallucinogens for the purpose of research and self-discovery, not for recreation. This informative article is not designed to promote the use of substances or drugs in any way. Kindly use your own discretion while reading. 

What is a psychonaut?

Psychonaut m

Up Next

Redefining The Self: How Do You Discover Yourself Through Your Perception of Others

How Do You Discover Yourself By How You Perceive Others

How do you discover yourself? Do you become spiritual and go to the Himalayas to meditate? Do you reflect on how you have lived your life till now? Do you listen to what others have to say about you? Or do you listen to what you have to say about others?

Here’s the answer: You listen to what you have to say about others. How you perceive, observe and judge others can reveal a lot about yourself and help you gain a deeper understanding of the self. This is how do you discover yourself.

What we can learn from how we judge others

The way we judge others can reveal a lot about ourselves, including our own values, biases, and insecurities. By reflecting on our judgments of others, we can gain insight into ou

Up Next

Is Someone Watching You? Understanding Stalking Behavior

Breaking Down Stalking Behavior What You Need to Know

You have this constant feeling that you simply can’t shake. Your anxiety levels have shot up and you’re always on the edge. You feel like you’re being watched…all the time. Every step you take, every move you make, someone is watching you. You have a stalker and they are stalking you even when you’re at home.

Trigger warning: If you have been stalked before, then this content may appear triggering. Please use your discretion before reading the following content.

Is someone following you?

You walk down the street. It’s late. There are a handful of busy people walking by who pay no attention to you. The yellow streetlights make you feel relaxed and comfortable as you slowly walk towards your home. And then it

Up Next

Healing Your Inner Child: A Path to Overcoming Trauma

Steps To Healing Your Inner Child And Trauma

Healing your inner child is a journey toward self-discovery and self-love. Acknowledge and nurture the emotional wounds of your past, with the steps below!

We all have an “inner child,” which is an unconscious archetype coined by Carl Jung. It holds our vulnerability, spontaneity, creativity, curiosity, and magical ideas. It also holds fears, anxiety, shame, loneliness, trauma, and insecurity experienced growing up.

Our inner child manifests through our beliefs and actions and can have a negative influence on our thoughts, feelings, interpersonal behavior, and choices as adults. To heal, we must develop a relationship with our wounded self.

Trauma and Our Inner Child

Trauma that happens in chil

Up Next

10 Ways To Limit People Pleasing

People Pleasing Syndrome Ways To Limit People Pleasing

“People pleasing is really fearing people's reactions, rejection or abandonment.” - Tracy A Malone

Key Points:

People pleasing often starts in childhood, when someone doesn't have, or doesn't give themselves, permission to put themselves first.

Valuing others more than oneself delegates reinforcement of one's worth to the outside world.

People pleasers tend to be over-observant of micro-expressions and verbal nuances in others.

To avoid people pleasing at work, one can stop overcompensating and feeling responsible for mistakes made by coworkers.

Up Next

4 Tips That Will Help You Practice Self Compassion

Practice Self Compassion Tips For Self Compassion

"Practice self compassion. Talk to and be your own best, kind, compassionate, and caring friend." - Kristin Neff

Key Points

The more compassionate we are with ourselves, the more confident we will become.

The more harshly we judge our actions, the more harshly we will judge others.

If we're compassionate, we can objectively look at our missteps as lessons and learn to recover from them.

Compassion is not intuitive, and it’s an exceedingly difficult skill to learn. At face value, it may appear to be easy to express, but most people come across as more judgmental and righteous