The Right Candidate Isn’t Always Right in Front of You

Author: Beth Tucker, CEO

What do a restaurant manager, an administrative assistant, and a stay-at-home mother have in common? They all have the soft skills needed to be excellent customer service representatives. I was reading an article in USA Today that described how these candidates didn’t traditionally fit the mold of customer service reps, but had other qualities – like empathy – that made them excellent for the role. This speaks to a greater trend we’ve been seeing: in a candidates’ market, employers must be flexible when it comes to candidate qualifications. Otherwise, you risk a longer time-to-hire… or not finding the right candidate at all.

For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that job openings in June hit a record high but, as employers struggled to find candidates that matched their qualifications, hiring stalled. This points to the fact that relying too heavily on qualifications can be a big mistake that leads to a longer hiring period. To work around this, it’s important to look at those candidates that may have otherwise been deemed unqualified – that is, those matching about 60-70% of criteria instead of 100%.

Too often, the right candidate might not have the resume you’re looking for but may have other experience or intangible qualities that can translate to success in that role. For example, a sales person who knows technical products but isn’t as familiar with selling consumer services. Or, a marketing professional who writes really well but isn’t familiar with new social media.

When companies may have waited 3-4 months to find the so-called perfect candidate, now they can dramatically reduce time-to-hire back to about six weeks and still find excellent talent and avoid losing valuable productivity.

If you’re not working with a staffing firm who can help vet for this, be sure to have a thorough and pre-planned interview process. What you’ll want to know is: Do they have the type of work-ethic you’re looking for? Are they hungry to succeed? Willing to learn? Will they work well with others?

Seeing someone’s potential beyond their resume isn’t always easy, but more often than not the right candidate isn’t always the obvious one. Finding the right candidate will not only shorten your time to hire but will ultimately make your organization a better and more productive one.