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Does The Perfect Candidate Exist?

By Steve Margalit

Has the internet led you to believe that there is an unlimited pool of talent in your given field?  Is it fooling you into believing you can find the perfect candidate?  If you answered yes, you are not alone. As a result of this false perception, the average time to hire has risen 8.3% over the past few years, according to a recent Glassdoor report. There are a number of factors at play here in finding the perfect candidate…

Searching for the Purple Squirrel / Perfect Candidate

Companies are putting together job descriptions (wish lists) that are unreasonable in their search for the ‘perfect’ candidate.  In order to be considered viable, candidates need to check EVERY box (and then some) before walking in the door.  Gone are the days of hiring teachable, coachable, trainable candidates with potential.  Companies are only willing to hire if you can hit the ground running.  Companies should also consider the soft skills candidates possess when making hiring decisions.

Momentum Killing the Process

How many rounds of interviews stretched over weeks, and in some cases, months is too much for the candidate?  As I mentioned in my recent article You Snooze, You Lose, time kills all deals and will most certainly disrupt the hiring process.  This is not a new problem, but it is perpetuated today by a seemingly never-ending desire to interview more candidates.  This has resulted in great candidates turning down jobs if for no other reason, than an indecisive, lengthy, nightmare of a hiring process.  Here’s a novel idea, if you find a great candidate, who meets most of the criteria and is smart, ambitious, capable, qualified and teachable…be decisive!

Lowball Offer

The job market for top talent is as competitive now as it’s ever been.  Unemployment is at historic lows, and multiple companies are competing for the same candidates.  Not only do you need to strike first, but it’s more important than ever to deliver the goods.  Don’t penalize the candidate just because they don’t meet 110% of the criteria you are looking for.  At a minimum, it’s going to take a fair and reasonable offer taking into account the cost of the vacancy, the candidate’s skill-set and the going rate for those skills.

Let’s face it folks, people aren’t perfect, this isn’t breaking news!  Stop looking for perfect and accept the fact that humans are imperfect.   Most importantly, set priorities for your search by identifying the ‘must haves’ and the ‘should haves’.  Look for candidates that are driven, passionate, willing and able to learn.  Streamline your hiring process and get creative where necessary to accommodate scheduling snafus.  Finally, when you identify a candidate that fits the bill, put together a competitive offer!!  Stop waiting for perfection, start hiring!

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Jeff Herzog

Jeff Herzog