Matching the Right Candidate to the Right Boss – A Case Study

Matching the right person to the right job is an acknowledged need in organizations. But one of the toughest challenges in selection often overlooked is matching the right candidate to their immediate boss. What makes that goal particularly tough is when the boss does not have a clue what kind of candidate would work well with them. The best rationale for giving consideration to the match between boss/employee is the voluminous research confirming that one of the primary contributing factors to turnover is the quality of the relationship between management and employees.


A recent selection challenge involved a boss who had turned over several employees. Frustrated and stressed, out of desperation he responded favorably when the VP of Human Resources suggested that he use a behavioral assessment to achieve a better match for the position and with his own behavioral preferences.


Suitability Assessment
A high quality suitability assessment facilitated a successful boss/candidate match resulting in a 25:1 ROI. With the heightened emphasis on retention, what organization can afford to ignore such dramatic results?
Utilizing a dynamic behavioral assessment that assesses 175 performance trait preferences and has a mechanism to match the candidate against position success templates, our consultant facilitated a selection process that involved assessing the boss’ behavioral preferences, discussing the position requirements, selecting a position success template, and finally assessing candidates for an appropriate match to position and boss.

The internal recruiting manager was responsible for sourcing and selecting candidates based on identified criteria, then administering the behavioral assessment to likely candidates, both internal and external. The assessment reports for the candidates that appeared to be a good fit were then reviewed by the consultant to evaluate the behavioral match between boss and candidate. The candidates prescreened as a good fit were then interviewed by the boss who utilized the assessment’s report with behavioral interview questions which were specific to the position and customized for each candidate.

The process was demanding in that the recruiting manager did not have access to the boss’ profile for confidentiality reasons so relied on the consultant’s analysis for boss/candidate fit; the boss was very tough to match and required review of a number of candidates to find potential good fits; and the incumbent was aware of the impending change. With confidence in the process, however, the recruiting manager and consultant carefully screened candidates until a good behavioral fit was identified. Out of 12 candidates screened, 2 seemed probable matches and the boss selected one of them for the position.


After selecting the final hire, the boss received the assessment report on how to manage, develop and retain the new employee and the new employee received her behavioral preferences development report to better understand her strengths and potential weaknesses in the new position. These provided excellent facilitation resources for development of the new boss/employee relationship. As a result of this innovative selection process, the company, department of the hiring manager, HR, the boss and his newly hired employee gained these additional benefits:

  • The chances of selecting a poor fit were minimized, reducing the potential for another turnover.
  • The boss saved time by interviewing only candidates that were a good fit.
  • HR gained credibility because poor — fit candidates were screened out before reaching the boss.
  • Internal candidates who were not a good fit were not put at risk of being selected for a potentially poor — fit job/boss.
  • The boss learned more about his own behavioral preferences and strengths/ weaknesses.
  • The chosen candidate has a high probability of performing well and remaining in the position.

The bottom line savings on using an effective behavioral assessment in selection is significant including reduced interviewing time, reduced stress, improved performance, and reduced chances for turnover. Considering the cost of turnover vs the cost of the assessment process, the ROI for this approach to matching the boss/subordinate was conservatively estimated at a return of 25 times the investment. Those savings go directly to the bottom line. With the heightened emphasis on retention, what organization can afford to ignore such dramatic results?

By Sheryl Dawson
Dawson Consulting Group