Why You Don't Need To Hold Out For The “Perfect” Candidate

Andrea Fricks
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As a recruiter with a position to fill, you may have one specific “dream candidate” in mind. You envision the experience they’ll have on their resume, the most important soft skills they’ll demonstrate, and the perfect answer they’ll give to your signature tough interview question. *record scratch* Hold up! If you find yourself passing up viable candidates because you’re waiting for the candidate that fits all of your requirements, even your nice-to-haves, you could be wasting time and missing out on great talent right in front of you. Here are three reasons you should stop dreaming of the perfect candidate and open yourself and your organization up to those near perfect candidates that can grow into your perfect employees:

1. Use your time wisely. If you wait around for your dream candidate’s resume to arrive in your inbox, you’re letting crucial time pass that could be invested in another promising applicant. If you hire a strong, dynamic candidate today who meets most of the job’s criteria, they can start actively training and getting up to speed in their new role. The longer you hold out for that one exact candidate you’re seeking, the longer it will take until you have a new team member, who is fully trained up and doing the job.

2. Have several irons in the fire. Let’s say you’ve found a candidate who has 100% of what you’re looking for, and you’ve presented them with a job offer, but they end up accepting it! If you find yourself in this situation and have tunnel vision for one potential hire, you might lose out on other great candidates who have since moved on to different interviews and opportunities. Banking too much on one person accepting your job offer might put you right back at square one if they ultimately decline.

3. Technical skills can be refined as needed. When choosing the right candidate for your open role, it can be advantageous to focus on personality and team fit just as much as technical qualifications. There will certainly be baseline technical skills the candidate needs to have, for example, an email developer probably needs some level of experience with HTML. If the basic technical qualifications have been met, additional “hard skills” can be taught to that candidate after they’ve been hired if needed. A candidate might not meet 100% of the technical requirements and still be a great fit for the role based on other traits and professional qualities they embody. If a candidate demonstrates strong soft skills and is a good personality fit with the rest of the team, let those aspects shine.

In a perfect world, you’d find your dream candidate for every single role! In the real world, you might need to make small concessions and hire a candidate who has most of what you’re looking for and is willing and able to learn the rest. At the end of the day, an enthusiastic candidate may surprise you with the experience and skills they can bring to the role and their new team!


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