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In the fast-paced realm of hiring, the concept of 3-dimensional hiring emerges as a guiding light. This innovative framework considers three vital dimensions: Skills, Fit, and Potential. These dimensions intertwine to shape a comprehensive candidate evaluation strategy that not only matches role requirements but also resonates with the company’s ethos and future growth.

Let’s delve deeper into this transformative approach by exploring the insights shared in the 13th episode of our Coffee Morning series. In this episode, Sam Ingram, our visionary CEO, and Robbie Blake, a seasoned Senior Consultant, engage in a captivating conversation that unveils the essence of 3-dimensional hiring. Their perspectives shed light on the challenges of cultural fit, effective communication, and the significance of aligning these dimensions:

“A lot of managers don’t know how to communicate. Why people don’t fit culturally, and they might feel like it, it’s almost kind of like, discrimination.” – Sam Ingram, CEO

“You know, it’s being honest with people and saying, like, this is what we like about you, and this is where we think we can help you grow… What you don’t really see is it’s like congratulations, you’ve got the offer. I think you can do this, this, this, and this and this is what they want to work on you with…” – Robbie Blake, Senior Consultant

These viewpoints set the stage for a profound exploration of 3-dimensional hiring, revealing the intricacies of skills, fit, and potential in driving successful hiring outcomes.

Watch, Listen, or Read

You can watch the full episode below or choose to listen to the podcast on Spotify. However, if you are an avid reader and prefer to read rather than watch and listen, then continue to read.

What does 3-dimensional hiring mean ? 

  1. Technical skills

The skills dimension forms the bedrock of a candidate’s qualifications and expertise. This dimension delves into a candidate’s proficiency, be it in programming languages, project management, marketing strategies, or other specialised areas. Evaluating skills ensures that candidates possess the foundational abilities required to excel in their designated roles. The National Bureau of Economic Research discovered that hiring candidates with robust technical skills resulted in an impressive 12% increase in firm productivity.

“Skills encompass the technical competencies, knowledge, and abilities that are directly relevant to the job requirements… Evaluating skills ensures that candidates possess the necessary foundation to perform their job effectively and deliver results.” – Sam Ingram, CEO

  1. Fit

The Fit dimension revolves around the harmonious alignment between a candidate’s values, work style, and personality, and the organisational culture. Cultural fit holds the key to fostering collaboration and sustaining a positive work environment. Glassdoor’s survey highlighted that 77% of hiring decision-makers accorded cultural fit the same importance as skills when evaluating candidates.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) underlined cultural fit as a key factor in reducing employee turnover, thereby leading to substantial cost savings. As Sam and Robbie discussed, ensuring a seamless fit involves assessing a candidate’s attitudes, communication style, and work approach in relation to the company’s mission and values:

“Cultural fit helps determine how well candidates will integrate into the team, adapt to the company’s norms, and contribute positively to the overall organisational dynamics.” – Robbie Blake, Senior Consultant

  1. Potential 

The dimension of Potential transcends the present, focusing on a candidate’s capacity for growth, adaptability, and future leadership. In an enlightening Coffee Morning episode titled “Stop Labelling Them Soft Skills,” the podcast explored the essence of potential. This dimension hones in on qualities such as adaptability, problem-solving, leadership, and the willingness to learn. Recognising high-potential candidates paves the way for career development opportunities and long-term organisational agility:

“Assessing potential involves considering factors such as a candidate’s past accomplishments, leadership qualities, problem-solving abilities, adaptability to change, and willingness to learn. So, let’s consider some compelling statistics. According to a report by PwC, a significant 77% of CEOs identify the challenge of nurturing future leaders as a top talent priority. I wholeheartedly agree. While hiring skilled individuals is crucial, the transition to leadership often lacks a structured pathway. Many professionals are promoted based on technical acumen, only to find themselves unprepared for the demands of leading a team. This is where the concept of potential comes into play. Cultivating effective leaders requires more than technical proficiency; it demands nurturing individuals who exhibit commitment, a long-term perspective, and a genuine passion for the organisation’s success.” – Sam Ingram, CEO

By integrating these three dimensions, organisations construct a holistic hiring process that balances technical competencies, cultural alignment, and growth potential. The interplay of these dimensions not only ensures a candidate’s aptitude but also aligns them with the company’s values and long-term trajectory.

Balancing the three dimensions: Best practices

Effective implementation of the 3-dimensional hiring approach necessitates a strategic integration of these dimensions into the hiring process. Here are some best practices to achieve a balanced assessment:

  1. Design job descriptions with the three dimensions in mind

Craft job descriptions that encompass skill requirements and qualifications. Simultaneously, highlight the organisation’s culture and values to attract candidates aligned with the company’s ethos. Emphasise growth opportunities to attract high-potential individuals. Craft job descriptions that clearly outline the required skills, experience, and qualifications for the role… Highlight opportunities for growth, learning, and career development to attract candidates with high potential.

  1. Implement a structured interview process

Develop structured interview questions that delve into both technical skills and behavioural attributes. Employ a mix of situational questions, behavioural-based queries, and skills assessments to gauge fit and potential. Leverage insights from multiple interviewers representing diverse perspectives. Develop structured interview questions that assess both technical skills and behavioural attributes related to cultural fit and potential… Involve multiple interviewers representing different perspectives to gather diverse insights.

  1. Assess cultural fit

Incorporate cultural fit assessments, such as behavioural assessments, personality tests, and culture fit interviews. Engage current team members in the process to evaluate a candidate’s compatibility with the team and the work environment. Sam and Robbie recognise the difficulties that managers face when attempting to convey the characteristics of a strong cultural fit. They acknowledge that this can be a challenging conversation to have.

Sam aptly compared this to experiences at a restaurant, where some interactions just don’t feel right, yet communication around it remains challenging. When it comes to assessing cultural fit, particularly regarding personality and softer skills, effective communication becomes key. It’s about being able to articulate why a candidate might not be a cultural fit while acknowledging their skill alignment. This highlights the importance of candid conversations in the hiring process, ensuring a transparent evaluation that encompasses both technical expertise and cultural resonance.

  1. Identify potential: Assess attitude

Look beyond immediate role requirements to identify a candidate’s growth potential. Consider indicators like past achievements, leadership qualities, adaptability, and a willingness to learn. Provide opportunities for candidates to showcase their potential. Look beyond the immediate requirements of the role and assess a candidate’s potential for growth and development… Provide opportunities for candidates to showcase their potential through presentations, case studies, or skills-based assessments.

  1. Evaluate the three dimensions holistically

A holistic evaluation is key, avoiding undue emphasis on any one dimension. Avoid prioritising one dimension over others. Instead, consider the interplay and balance between skills, fit, and potential… Create a scoring system or evaluation rubric that weighs each dimension appropriately. NOTE: Customisation remains paramount; each organisation’s unique needs, roles, and industry dynamics dictate the optimal mix of dimensions.

Benefits and challenges of incorporating all 3-Dimensions


  1. Enhanced hiring accuracy

The amalgamation of skills, fit, and potential ensures a comprehensive evaluation that leads to precise candidate selection. Evaluating skills validates qualifications, fit aligns values with culture, and potential identifies future leaders.

  1. Improved employee retention

A balanced approach reduces mismatches between candidates and company culture, ultimately enhancing employee retention. High-potential individuals, offered growth pathways, remain engaged and committed.

  1. Enhanced organisational performance

Balancing dimensions positively influences organisational performance. Skills-driven productivity, culture-aligned teamwork, and potential-driven innovation contribute to an organisation’s holistic success.


  1. Evaluation complexity

As we embark on the journey of 3-dimensional hiring, the landscape becomes more intricate, demanding a comprehensive approach. The integration of dimensions like skills, fit, and potential introduces a new level of complexity. In our quest for the perfect fit, we’re harnessing the power of AI to enhance our processes.

However, Sam Ingram, our CEO, raises a pertinent concern: “While AI offers incredible potential, it’s important to note that not all managers are adept at leveraging it effectively. We’re in a phase where AI tools are at our disposal, but we’re still learning how to maximise their impact.”

Robbie also emphasises the essence of human interaction amidst technological advancements: “While efficiency is a driving force, we must strike a balance that preserves the human touch. AI can help us shortlist candidates, but the personal interactions remain crucial to understanding a candidate’s true cultural fit and potential. It’s a harmonious blend of innovation and connection.”

In essence, our journey into 3-dimensional hiring reflects the evolving interplay between AI and human expertise. As we navigate this dynamic landscape, we’re discovering that while AI has the potential to revolutionise hiring, it’s essential to ensure that its implementation aligns with our goals and values.

  1. Subjectivity and bias

Evaluating fit and potential introduces subjectivity and bias. Cultural fit assessments, if not structured, can lead to favouritism. Bias mitigation necessitates clear evaluation criteria and diverse evaluators.

  1. Trade-offs and prioritisation

Balancing dimensions involves trade-offs. Prioritising one over others can be challenging, as role requirements and long-term goals differ. Striking this balance requires careful consideration of role dynamics and organisational needs.

Northreach’s adoption of the 3-dimensional hiring process

The success story of Northreach’s internal hiring journey serves as a testament to the efficacy of the 3-dimensional hiring approach. By embedding the principles of skills, fit, and potential into our hiring process, we’ve achieved remarkable outcomes, notably reducing attrition rates. The insightful conversation between Sam and Robbie underscores Northreach’s commitment to nurturing potential leaders and prioritising cultural alignment:

“Throughout when you’re hiring people, you’re always running through that process in your mind… I think that comes down to the skills, fits, and potential.” – Sam Ingram, CEO

The dialogue accentuates the significance of balance and nurturing, demonstrating how the 3-dimensional approach is seamlessly integrated into Northreach’s ethos.

The future of 3-dimensional hiring

As the future unfolds, emerging trends and technologies continue to shape the hiring landscape. Advancements in AI, machine learning, and data analytics hold the potential to enhance the 3-dimensional hiring process:

  1. Improved skills assessment

AI-driven platforms analyse vast candidate data, enabling efficient evaluation of technical skills. Automation streamlines initial screening, allowing recruiters to focus on candidates meeting skill criteria.

  1. Enhanced cultural fit evaluation

AI tools gauge cultural fit by analysing language patterns and sentiment analysis. This aids recruiters in making informed decisions about a candidate’s alignment with organisational values.

  1. Predictive analytics for potential assessment

Data analytics and predictive algorithms identify potential by comparing profiles with successful employees. This data-driven approach enhances decisions about candidates’ future growth.

  1. Reduced bias and increased Fairness

AI and machine learning mitigate bias by focusing solely on objective criteria. This fosters inclusivity and diversity, ensuring equal opportunities for all candidates.

Robbie Blake, our Senior Consultant, further explores the potential of AI in refining the hiring process: “The beauty of AI lies in its ability to minimise bias and promote fairness. It can sift through vast amounts of data, stripping away preconceived notions and unconscious biases that often influence decisions. This technology is like a guiding compass, leading us toward a more inclusive and equitable hiring landscape.”

  1. Enhanced efficiency and time savings

AI automation optimises efficiency by handling initial interactions. Recruiters focus on strategic tasks like interviews and cultural alignment, fostering enriched interactions.


In a broader context, it extends beyond this. We understand that we need to consider the three dimensions when making hiring decisions. However, it’s also about taking the time to sit down as a business and define what these dimensions truly entail for each role. It’s about asking ourselves;

“What do these dimensions look like for this specific position? Where do we need to place emphasis on these three aspects?” Defining our culture and fit as a business is equally crucial. It involves fleshing out these concepts rather than merely relying on vague assumptions. As Robbie Blake, our Senior Consultant, succinctly put it, “You know, when you don’t just kind of going, what does, what does the wind say? Yeah, you’ve got kind of clearly defined things across the business.”

This process also involves refining the interview approach. As Sam Ingram, our CEO, highlighted,

“You can put questions in place for that and just. Just like real. Competency-based interview and thinking of a list of example questions that you ask the same way, same style, to every candidate that are based on your values. You know a lot of values are just words, right? But you can almost put those words into interview formats around innovation, like you know, or collaboration or leadership or whatever it may be, and think about what kind of questions you can ask that would home into those values. And if they can’t relate to it, the likelihood is it’s not the right culture fit, and maybe there you go. That’s how you do it straight off the bat, you start thinking about how I can actually put a better interview process together that thinks about the values, thinks about the fit, thinks about the skills, and thinks about the long-term potential of the individual, and it goes on, it will ultimately improve that retention for the employees.”

To conclude, 3-dimensional hiring encompasses the dimensions of skills, fit, and potential, and a harmonious interplay of these dimensions results in a comprehensive assessment of candidates. Northreach’s unwavering commitment to nurturing potential leaders and aligning with cultural values is a testament to the power of this approach. As technology continues to evolve, the 3-dimensional hiring process stands poised to revolutionise the hiring landscape, ensuring that organisations secure the best-suited candidates for their future growth and success. It’s a journey that requires both strategic planning and adaptable execution, ultimately leading to enhanced organisational performance and success.