So, how do you apply the concept of Ethos to a practical situation and why does it matter?

Interviewing (and identifying) the right candidate for your organization is one of the most important functions as a leader. When an employee is well matched to an organization, they are more likely to find the work fulfilling and less likely to leave the company. From a financial standpoint, high employee turnover can be detrimental to the bottom line. It is estimated that the cost of employee turnover can be as high as one year of that employee’s salary, which means that hiring the right person the first time is much more efficient.

Furthermore, understanding the individual ethos of a potential employee can allow a leader to create a balanced team of diverse backgrounds. Consequently, this can result in a more harmonious and effective workplace.

When evaluating a candidate, there are four main criteria that should be met: Education, Experience, Aptitude and Fit. The first three are relatively straight forward. A candidate will mildly, moderately or absolutely meet these qualifications. However, candidates are more than just their qualifications. Fit is arguably the most important of the four criteria, and yet it is often overlooked.

Simultaneously, Fit is the most difficult of the criteria to discern. After determining that a candidate meets the other requirements, a second interview can be held to focus solely on Fit. At this stage of the interview process, the interview should be conversational. Simply asking an open-ended question, such as “starting with you first job post-education describe your professional history up to now”, can allow a candidate to share their own narrative and allow a leader to gain insight on the individual ethos of the candidate.