Job search and recruitment: Daring more trial and error

Trial and error is a process most startups have to go through. It’s a vital step in making sure that the product or service the company wants to provide really fulfills the needs of their potential clients. Is “trial and error” something we could – or even should – also apply to the hiring process? We think that there is something to this idea!

Can we apply trial and error when hiring people?

It’s called “product-market fit”: Only if you have the right product or service that fulfills a specific need of a specific market segment will you be able to successfully sell it. Usually, attaining a product-market fit takes time. While a good market analysis already brings a lot of answers, many companies – particularly start-ups – still go through a trial and error phase, The more a start-up is willing and able to try out, to “pivot” from plan A to plan B (and then C and then D,) the higher the chances are of success. This also depends on other factors, like the endurance of the founders, available funds, market changes, the general economic climate, to name a few. 

The question: Could this be applied to improve the experience of hiring people? After all, here too, you need at least a “good” fit between the company and – not the product – but the employee. So should companies be encouraged to try out employees, too? At first glance: No! Not at all! If I’m looking for a job, I REALLY don’t want companies to try me out. Also, from the company’s point of view, trying out can be expensive and time consuming. It is usually more efficient to send candidates through a rigorous selection process to find the one “perfect” candidate that brings in the right skills and mindset and fits well into the company culture.

Finding the fit: the flaws of the hiring process

The reality is: More often than not, there is no perfect fit. Bringing in the required skill set is only one part of the hiring process. There is the job description as on paper, and during the interview, everyone is on their best behavior. The interview process may bring out only certain aspects of the needs of the job, perhaps the needs are not even clear for the manager of the team, let alone the HR person who acts as the intermediary.

As a candidate, there is the pressure to tick all of the boxes, so we do, even if it’s not really the case. The entire procedure is artificial: everyone looks good, buzz words get tossed around making the job and the candidate appear more attractive and for many who have played the game for a while, it can be exhausting with little to show for, sometimes even leading to self doubt and unnecessary stress.


There are multiple reasons why we may not fit into a vacant position. There can be external reasons: The job is in Jamaica, but I live in Switzerland and don’t want to move. Or: I want to work part time, but the job requires 120% commitment.

There are internal reasons: There is this saying that you need to know what you’re looking for in order to find it. But what if you don’t know what you want, even after years of study and work and life experiences? What if you’re unsure about what you’re really good at? A potential employer is more likely to say: “We need someone who is good at A and B and don’t need C and D” instead of seeing value in people with multiple talents.

On the other hand if you are someone really committed to getting the work done that needs to be done, and you actually get hired (maybe because of that), you may end up doing just that: getting work done without ever figuring out where your passions really are.

There is another element we must mention. It’s character: If someone doesn’t get hired, it is perfectly possible that it’s not because of a lack of skills, but because of a specific character trait. It may be the character trait of the candidate, but it can also be that someone among the existing staff, maybe even the boss, that has a “strong personality”.

For the personal satisfaction of an employee as much as for the success of a company, it’s likely just as important--if not even more important--with WHOM. you work than what kind of work you do. In other words, we might be better to be part of a great team and do work that may not perfectly fit your skills than to fit the skill profile within a team that doesn’t correspond to you.

While a proper recruitment process may find “good matches”, daring to trying out employment may yield much more satisfactory results for both the employee as for the employer. Particularly for people who have multiple talents, who are willing to do whatever work needs to be done, or maybe who are just not very good a selling themselves.

Except: which company can do that?

Developing that kind of dynamic

Partico was born out of the idea of building more flexible work environment for highly qualified people who wanted to work part time. It was only with time that we discovered the true value of “flexibility” and that the idea evolved into an organization that is actually built to try out.

We are now moving from the conceptualization phase to the implementation. Should you yourself be interested in contributing to build this up, or just to become a member, please contact us.


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