Today’s job market favors applicants, which has made things even more difficult for hiring managers. Projects are staying understaffed for longer periods of time, which puts additional stress on your employees. It might sound counterintuitive, but by placing less emphasis on certain job qualifications, you may find even more qualified applicants.
Right now, the hiring market is favoring sellers. This means that there are more open positions than there are qualified applicants. Companies are now dealing with vacancies that could stay open for months – or longer – putting additional stress on existing staff, teams, departments, and organizations.
The good news is that there is an easy way for companies to shorten their vacancy time and expedite the applicant search, filling positions more quickly and taking some of the undue pressure off of others. Companies need to lower their expectations. At this point, you are probably thinking, “But lower expectations will just result in poorer-qualified candidates, right?” Not necessarily.
A lot of times, hiring managers become overly focused on finding the right qualifications for the open position, when they should really be focused on finding the right person. Of course, education and experience can be extremely important – particularly for certain positions and industries. But for many companies, these factors are not necessarily prerequisites for a job well done. In fact, it is often the case that a seemingly under-qualified candidate could actually be a more successful hire than an individual who checks every box included in a long-detailed job description.
Job descriptions are typically written more as “wish lists”. An ideal candidate might have a certain college major or experience working at competitive organizations. Then again, this ideal candidate may not actually exist, which means that the position will never be filled.
Instead of being focused on how a candidate looks on paper, you would be doing yourself a service by taking a step back and considering the potential that you see in a given applicant. A good rule of thumb is to take an 80/20 approach. This means that serious candidates should have about 80% of the objective criteria that has been laid out in the job description, and the remaining 20% should be based on the individual’s personality. You want to ask yourself, “Does this candidate show initiative, curiosity, an eagerness to learn?” These are the skills that cannot be taught, and also the ones that can have the greatest impact on your organization.
When you disqualify candidates just because they did not graduate with a particular degree or are a little short on years of industry experience, you could be doing yourself – and your company – a great disservice. Not only are less-seasoned professionals more malleable because they are less likely to have deeply ingrained existing work habits, but they also tend to be more loyal and open to learning new processes.
Every hiring manager – but especially those faced with long-existing vacancies – should consider being more lenient on certain educational and professional criteria, and more open to a candidate who shows particular personality qualities and demonstrates potential. In the long run, these are the applicants that may better serve the position.