When Hiring the Perfect Candidate Isn’t an Option, Consider This Strategy

You have three candidates, and all have serious red flags, you have to hire one, what do you do?

This question came to me for a long time, friend, “John.” He’s struggling to fill a position and has only three qualified applicants. All three applicants came up with issues in their background checks, which makes him hesitant to extend an offer. He asked me how to choose a candidate when no candidate is perfect.

This situation comes up often. You can spend years searching for the perfect candidate, but most likely, you’ll be in a situation like my friend and need to hire someone now. He can’t really expand his search for the following reasons:

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5 thoughts on “When Hiring the Perfect Candidate Isn’t an Option, Consider This Strategy

  1. I would have made the same choice. Lack of experience can be remedied; potential character flaws probably not. But when is hiring the “perfect” candidate ever an option? Despite all of our due diligence, hiring is still pretty superficial, based on the appearances created by the applicants. Like everything else in life, it’s basically a crap shoot. If someone seems “too good to be true,” they likely are.

  2. As usual, grannybunny makes a good point. I think companies have moved away from the idea of training anyone. They just want a magical candidate who checks off their entire wishlist and can hit the ground running from day one. That rarely happens in real life. Perhaps it explains why I keep seeing the same job listed for weeks at a time.
    If they’re having trouble finding someone, then instead of looking for a unicorn, they could focus on transferable and soft skills and make one!

  3. The “write it out” strategy for comparing pros and cons works in many other situations where an obvious good solution just isn’t available and one has to choose the lesser of evils.

  4. I would have taken a slightly different approach and dug a bit more into Sr candidate with interpersonal issues and junior person.

    Junior person: why did they apply to this Sr role? Are they over confident in their abilities? Will they be satisfied with a lower level title or will they expect rabid promotions and take off?

    Interpersonal issues: a lot of times people hear this and think “unfixable” but that’s really not the case. Is someone a little socially awkward and occasionally out their foot in their mouths? Completely coachable. Vs do they disparage and bully? Pass.

  5. I saw a stat on the DiversityInc website that 40% of companies have positions open for lack of acceptable candidates. All the more reason not to expect a “perfect” applicant.

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