Every small business owner believes, at one time or another, that there’s a perfect candidate for their open job position. If they keep searching long enough, they’ll find the one person who combines all the best qualities—boundless motivation, dedication to superior customer service, high-level technical proficiency—at the salary level they’re most comfortable with.
The only problem with this scenario? Such a candidate doesn’t exist. There’s no one out there who comes with every job skill you want in a candidate, and no risk.
Still, many businesses tailor their job search with such a person in mind. The result is a costly expenditure of time and effort, especially if in the end, the person in charge of hiring ends up with no new hire at all (or one chosen out of frustration).
By changing your mind-set and adopting a few common-sense principles, you can avoid the perfectionist approach to hiring:
List the most important traits you’re looking for. Instead of working off of a list of the type of job traits you don’t want to see in a candidate, compile a list of what you’d most like to find in your next round of interviews. What top three “must-haves” should that candidate possess? Take this a step further: What job skills would you like to see, which can you live without? Score each applicant against these lists and see who rises to the top.
You can’t do it all by yourself. This goes hand-in-hand with the compulsion to find the perfect candidate. If you’re the only one talking to candidates, you could easily pass up a gifted applicant simply because he or she doesn’t meet all of the rigorous qualifications you’ve put in place.
Rather than risk crippling the hiring process by going it alone, seek out the advice of others—ideally, a team of individuals within the company (including at least one person who would actually be working with the new hire). The fresh perspectives a team provides will help make the search more efficient and the final decision more effective.
Review your past hiring record. When it comes to hiring others in similar positions, how well have you done in the past? Have your job hires stayed on to become successful employees or is there a noticeable drop-out rate? Taking time to objectively assess your track record for new hires will likely diminish your tendency toward perfectionism.
Build from within. Is there an employee in the business who you should consider for the open job position? Employees possess useful knowledge and can bring to the table what potential candidates cannot, making them great candidates for an open position.
Offer on-the-job training and development. Whether you hire from within or bring on a new employee, consider organizing future projects so that this individual can be part of a multidisciplinary team, working with colleagues from different departments. The experience will broaden the person’s skill set while valuable work is getting done.
Another option to consider in place of finding the “perfect” employee? Place a new hire on an extended probationary period while also supplying access to the best tools and resources available. Spending a little more time and effort at the outset increases the odds that your new employee turns out to be, if not perfect, a very good fit within the organization.
For more information:
- “Avoid Perfectionism in Your Hiring Process” – LC Staffing