Remember that saying that you’ve been hearing ever since you were a little kid, “nobody’s perfect.” This also applies to job candidates. You can spend as much time and resources as you want searching for them, but you will only be setting yourself up for disappointment. Instead, get rid of your unrealistic expectations and find a great candidate that can truly shine.
Let’s get right to it. There’s no such thing as perfect – not for anything and not for anyone. So why do organizations continue to try and find “the perfect candidate”? Having an unreasonable list of expectations and requirements will only prolong the hiring process, potentially indefinitely. Not to mention, whenever you hold someone up to the standard of perfection, you are only setting yourself up (and the candidate) to be disappointed.
Instead, let’s be realistic. So, the perfect candidate doesn’t exist – but really great ones do! And if you spend your time focused solely on finding the unfindable, chances are that you will be missing out on some really excellent potential employees.
This means that you will need to be somewhat flexible throughout the hiring process, starting with the job description. Separate your “need to haves” from your “nice to haves.” What are the skills are qualifications that are absolutely necessary for someone to be successful in the open position, and what can someone reasonably learn on the job? This will vary a lot by industry, of course.
Think about it like this: It’s better to find a great fit who can take some time to learn on the job, then to hire too quickly and need to start the process over because they were a bad fit.
Things like ambition or insight are key qualities that can’t be taught – but responsibilities and procedures can. Look for a person who is keen to learn and open to new opportunities. Also, don’t write someone off immediately because of a past failure or low point. Many of the most successful people only became that way because they were able to learn from their mistakes and hardships.
Here’s another important thing to remember: when trying to fill an open position, you are not hiring an exact version of the individual who used to have the role. Holding potential candidates to this expectation isn’t fair to them, and it’s also not fair to the position. Job roles are living and breathing things. They shift and evolve over time. You need to find the right new person who can help the role continue to grow and strengthen.
By keeping an open mind you’ll be able to see the opportunity and potential in the applicants you have in front of you. And don’t expect your job to be over as soon as they have a name badge and employee ID – you can shape an excellent candidate in your “perfect candidate” with the right training and realistic expectations.