The candidate that got away

Hiring managers.  Listen up.  Remember that candidate you interviewed that was pretty impressive, but not quite perfect, so you didn’t hire him?  I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

  • You should have hired him.
  •  By the time you realise it, he won’t be on the market anymore.
  • Oh, and he’ll be working for one of your competitors, that saw his potential.

It’s not that your dream candidate doesn’t exist.  It’s entirely possible that there is a person out there that has the exact technical experience, the exact mix of soft skills, not to mention the right amount of experience, and who is looking for a job just like yours in the exact location where you are based.   Oh, and they happen to be looking for work around the time you need them.   And the salary you’re paying will certainly be enough.

Yes, that person might exist.  And if you’re really lucky, you might end up recruiting them.  Let’s be realistic though.  If that person does exist, they will be very much in demand, so it is up to you to convince them that they ought to come and work for you.  Are you up for the challenge?  What are you offering them over and above what your competitors can offer?  Or is it the case that you have neglected to consider that just because you really want that person doesn’t necessarily mean that they are equally enthusiastic about working for you?

These elusive ‘perfect’ candidates don’t come along very often, so while you are waiting for them to turn up, you need to be aware of the impact on your existing team of being a man down.  It certainly wouldn’t be a good time to lose another team member because of added pressure, now, would it?

The longer the search goes on, the more you might wish you had just taken on that fellow who had most of the skills, the right attitude, and the aptitude to learn.  And where is he now?  Working for one of your competitors, more than likely.  They’ve probably invested a little in training him up to the right level, too.  Now, don’t you wish you’d thought of that, instead of wasting time trying to find somebody better?

Listen to your recruitment partner.  They know the marketplace, and they know the value of a solid candidate that can learn on the job and most importantly, that actually wants to work for you.  Rather than seeking perfection, think about aptitude and potential and versatility when you interview people.

After all, the best person for the job might not be the finished article just yet.  But when they are, you’ll wish you’d recruited them for your team back when you had the chance.