How To Be A Square Peg In A Round Hole

In today’s “must fit in” social media-influenced world, being a square peg isn’t easy. Everyone is searching for that perfect fit, be that in their personal life or their business environment. The likelihood that you’ll ever find that perfect fit is pretty slim but when you do it is amazing.


I recently had the pleasure of finding my perfect fit but the life that came with it didn’t exactly fit the norm. I was the proverbial square peg. Yes, we were absolutely made for each other but the situation wasn’t and there was a lot of work required to make sure that everything was cleverly orchestrated to mould things into shape. Our round hole is no longer round, and the square pegs are no longer square. What we have as a result is a wonderful hybrid that was worth working hard to achieve and something that has far exceeded the original happy expectations.


Applying this philosophy to a business situation will yield the same results. Job postings are plentiful in sales right now but very few of them are flexible enough to accommodate a square peg. The tick list of desired and must-haves is abundant and by providing a CV to the recruiting manager (in-house or agency) provides them with an easy way of whittling the wheat from the chaff. Simply put they do a keyword search on the must-haves and throw away the rest. There are so many square pegs placed in the stock response list of “sorry to say that you’ve been unsuccessful at this time as there are other candidates who’s skill-set better matches the criteria for this role” and all with the shortsighted view of saving time.


Creating the perfect CV for the job is also abundant. There are plenty of candidates with the skill to do exactly the same in reverse. Keyword searching their CV in advance of sending it out and adding the “must-haves” so that it doesn’t land in the “lack of skills” pile is common practice amongst savvy job hunters and so conformity begins to feed itself.


What rarely happens though, is that company and candidate meet and realise that each is a good fit and then they work out how they can make it work. By being a good fit, I don’t mean that all the skills match. I mean that they like the cut of each other’s jib and work together to create a role that is hugely beneficial to both parties, more often than not exceeding all expectations and by far exceeding the original job description.


It takes some courage to do this and, of course, time but if you spend 12 months searching for that perfect fit and still have to compromise later on that time could very easily be worth the investment. ESPECIALLY in SALES. Typical lead times have grown exponentially over the last few years with BANT (old school rubbish) being expanded to several stakeholders as opposed to just one. (one of the reasons why this is now rubbish BTW) Therefore adding 12 months to the recruitment process (as costly as it might be) is often the difference between a company hitting the annual objectives or not. Taking the time to collaborate with a square peg and giving the opportunity a little time to flourish, on the other hand, will more often than not smash those expectations out of the park and you’ll be glad that you did it.


If you’re the square peg in this scenario, then my advice to you is this. Be true to who you are. You have some amazing qualities and there is an abundance of companies out there who are looking for someone just like you, they just don’t know it yet. Yes, amending your CV to fulfil the search criteria will help you get past the first electronic cull but ask yourself this question, am I being true to who I am? If the answer is no, then don’t do it, instead, send in your “you-CV” and follow it up with a phone call or email to the hiring manager and explain why they shouldn’t discard it. If this doesn’t work, then your not likely to fit in regardless so you’ve both saved time.