Perfect candidate. Best fit. Most-qualified. We’ve heard them all. Terms to describe the person who will be selected for your vacant position. But who is the perfect candidate, best-fit and most-qualified? Who or what is the strongest candidate?
Many times the recruitment and selection process depends on the economy and the flow of qualified candidates to a position. To a high degree since 2008, it has been a “buyer’s market” for hiring managers. In some business sectors between 2009 and 2012, there was a flood of “inventory” on the market for many positions so buyers could be more selective of candidates. The inclusion of candidate selection assessments based on cognitive abilities, knowledge, work skills, physical and motor abilities, personality, emotional intelligence, language proficiency, and even integrity may have slowed the process on the premise they help identify the best candidates for a position. Job requirements can change multiple times during the posting process as the position, department or organization evolves or devolves as an organization or business functions change. As a recruiter, I have personally experienced this before my eyes. Finally, a confluence of changes in HR practices and functions, and the use of technology such as applicant tracking software enabled automated reviews of applications, targeting exact requirements and spitting out applications that were not a perfect match.
Result? The time to fill has actually increased since 2009 from 15.3 –to 24.9 days. In some industries it is even higher.
As you search for the perfect candidate, the best-fit, most qualified or strongest candidate(s), consider the following:
- What are you and your team willing to invest in with a new hire?
- What skills, levels or years of experience or knowledge are serious, absolute, have-to-haves? Real deal breakers. Are critical to the candidate’s success. Skills you absolutely in no way can train for and do not have capacity to train for. Not just “don’t have time to train” but skills and knowledge that you do not have any resources to train for in any capacity but you have a business need through the position.
- What skills, levels or years of experience or knowledge are just nice to haves, because, in reality, it will make your job as a manager easier? You don’t have to do much training, coaching or mentoring nor does your team. With these nice to haves, the new hire will ramp up really quick, be independent and not be a drain on the department.
- How prepared are you for your new hire with a 365 day onboarding process?
Now, really important questions:
- Is there a possibility the position responsibilities are going to change in the next six months, year or two years?
- What is the status of the position within the industry? Are you foreseeing skills changes, knowledge or educational changes? How will you or your organization support that?
- How frequently does your organization change? Is it doing business like it did five years ago (I hope not) or is it on the other end of the spectrum of changing organizational chart structures every six months and continuously creating new reporting paths?
Perhaps the one universal strength for today’s candidates is nimbleness. Being adaptability and flexibility. Agile. Leaping instead of stagnating. For managers, it is hiring candidates who will help you navigate change. Candidates who will pull instead of tug or mire in despair for too long over the loss of the ideal job. For candidates, it is awareness that the “perfect or ideal job” is most likely temporary and will probably change. Being prepared for a leap or a turn. Staying alert. Agile. In motion.
Lisa Boesen, MAOM, is a Certified Master Coach and HR Professional. She enjoys working clients who want to work through barriers, improve resilience and approach opportunities with renewed energy and curiosity. To request more information or a free consultation, click here.