7 Sure Fire Ways Not to Hire The Ideal Candidate

Megan Hopkins

 

When companies post a job listing, odds are, they have a very specific type of candidate in mind. However, oftentimes the people that actually get hired don’t resemble what you originally set out to find.

Why is this? There are several reasons.

 

Why You May Not End Up With Your Ideal Candidate

In many cases, the expectations for a potential candidate are not realistic. Be prepared to adjust what you are looking for when needed.

For example, you may find the perfect candidate who only has five years of experience when you’re looking for seven.

Or you may interview someone who seems to click perfectly with your company’s culture, but they don’t know Java as well as you might like.

If you like an interviewee, it’s important that you take a step back and ask yourself, “What makes an ideal candidate for this role?”

There are often many factors that can come in the way of you finding the ideal candidate, and it is possible you may be too blinkered in your search, only looking for the familiar, etc.

The most common discrepancies against potential candidates are education, background, technology experience and salary.

Many companies are looking for employees from an elite school; however, some of the best workers end up coming from non-elite schools.

It’s also common for employers to overlook candidates who do not have a corporate background and instead come from a trending startup or FAANG.

Experience is another discrepancy that often plagues job seekers.

Companies often want a candidate with a specific tech stack and end up hiring someone who doesn’t fulfill that. Remember: if someone is a strong candidate, they can learn the technology.

Finally, in many instances, the final decision comes down to money and not being able to afford what you really want.

In today’s competitive tech industry, where there is high demand for qualified employees, it’s not unusual for a candidate to have high salary expectations.

 

How to Hire the Perfect Fit for Your Company

During the hiring process, it’s important for hiring managers to make concessions, especially in a talent shortage marketplace like technology.

While everyone wants to hire someone who checks all the boxes they’re looking for, sometimes a person who checks seven out of 10 can do the job with ease and fits the culture perfectly.

Oftentimes, hiring managers will be more willing to see past a lack of required skills if the candidate is an employee referral or has worked at the same previous employer.

Hiring a “known entity” is a great way to relax your requirements a bit since you or your employee will be able to testify for the candidate.

It’s also critical that hiring manager remember that finding a good match on paper is only the beginning of the solution.

It’s possible to find a candidate that meets all your on-paper requirements, but just doesn’t seem like a good fit for the company culture. You should find someone who seems like a committed, loyal employee, even if they’re somewhat underqualified for the position.

You can teach a candidate how to do a job, but you can’t teach them to become a good person.

 

Why It Is OK To Hire an Imperfect Candidate

Keeping your bias out of the hiring process can be difficult to do; however, learning to be flexible can bring you the perfect job candidate.

Look outside of the interview basics, like education, professional background, etc., and find out what other qualities potential candidates have to offer. Instead of focusing on the past, talk with candidates about what they want their future to look like.

If it aligns with your company, don’t overlook them.

Create a list of questions that aren’t typical for interviews—perhaps about the candidates’ childhood or what they’re looking for in a company culture. You never know when someone’s childhood experiences can come in handy.

Perhaps they spent summers volunteering at camp or were often put in charge of caring for their siblings. These types of experiences can come in handy in day-to-day situations.

While it may seem discouraging, remember that it’s not such a bad thing if you end up hiring someone who doesn’t match your requirements. It shows you know how to stay open-minded.

What’s written on paper is never the same in person.