The “Perfect” Candidate Doesn’t Exist So…Stop Looking!

convince-employers-perfect-candidateIt happens each and every time…

A manager needs to replace an employee that left or wants to find “new talent” and they dream up what they envision as the perfect employee.  They begin to write a whole long list, not of duties, but of “needed” experience and qualifications for their next hire.  They submit their “wish list” to Human Resources to start recruiting this person and stress that candidates MUST have these specific qualifications in order to even be considered.

HR knows that the specific qualifications or experience they are demanding are going to be difficult to find so they try to convince the manager to look at candidates that have some, but can be trained to learn the rest.  The manager insists that the perfect candidate does exist out there and sticks to their demands.

Weeks go by and little to no candidates are uncovered that have all of these qualifications.  The manager blames the recruiting method for why those perfect candidates aren’t applying to their company…“They are out there, you just aren’t advertising in the right places.”  So instead of re-visiting the expectations of the candidates they are willing to talk to, the manager starts giving “ideas” of how HR should be trying to find these candidates.

Truth is – to find the “perfect candidate” is literally a needle in the haystack.

And there is no guarantee that even with the qualifications and experience a manager expects that they will be able to transfer that into this new role.  What the manager is wanting is a “plug and play” employee that they don’t have to spend time bringing up to speed when they are hired or have to train.  What they are really doing is potentially shooting themselves in the foot!

You have a completely different pool of candidates these days.

Gone are the days where employees focused on just one job and stayed at a company for decades.  Today, it is expected that employees will not only change jobs but even careers at least 3-4 times in their lifetime.  They are more open and eager to learn new skills to add to their personal toolbox.  And they are more successful in transferring those skills into new positions because of their creativity, problem-solving skills and desire to learn more than just what is needed.  Many candidates come into job interviews wanting to know what training opportunities exist with the company, will the company support them (financially as well) in improving the skills they already have for their assigned job and will the company allow them to cross-train with other departments.  They are gauging their future happiness and success with a company based on this not just salary anymore.

7 out of 10 approach

What jobseekers are being told is that after reviewing the company’s job posting if you have at least 70% of the requirements they are looking for, go ahead and apply.  Anything less than that and your resume won’t be considered.

The same should be applied to the employer side.  If the candidate has the main requirements you are looking for, bring them in for an interview and see if they are transferable and if they can be a quick learner for those things they don’t have.

”But then we have to train them and we don’t have the time.  I need someone just ready to go.”

How many times I have heard a manager say this only to watch them become disenchanted with their view of the “perfect employee” when that employee is still “stuck in their old ways” and wanting to do things their way because they feel its better rather than the way the manager wants it done.  This is an even better example of why you don’t want to limit yourself to a candidate that meets all your requirements.  It takes time and effort to fully integrate any new employee into an organization so looking for the perfect candidate so they can simply just “go to work” removes that aspect from the equation – the manager doesn’t take the time to get them acclimated or lay down the requirements and expectations in the new role.

By giving a candidate with most of the requirements the manager is looking for a chance at the job, the company has the opportunity to mold that employee into the perfect employee that they REALLY do want – both skills and culture-wise.  You never know what additional skills or ideas this type of candidate may bring to the table as well.

Time to revisit your recruiting strategy and expand the possible candidate base…you may be surprised at what you uncover.

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