Are we kissing too many frogs?

Dear Ken Keller,

We are hiring and we’ve been having trouble filling our open positions. Our ads seem to be working, generating a lot of interest and replies. Fortunately, we are easily able efficiently screen out those that clearly don’t qualify, even though it does take time.

Those applications and resumes we do intend to take further action on also take time to review. We then schedule telephone interviews and in-person meetings.

As we move through the interviews, despite our best efforts, no candidate, regardless of the position we are recruiting for has everything we want. So, we express an interest in these folks but do not extend offers.

It seems like we are kissing a lot of frogs to get what we want.

We are getting frustrated. Should we take our chances and hire those that are “almost qualified” meaning hire the best we have available, or should we hold off until we find those that have everything, for the open positions? —Peter K.

Dear Peter:

Thanks for your email. You did not say how long you have been looking to fill these positions and where you left the candidates that you had taken the time to interview.
The economy is now at the point where things are in favor for applicants and less so for employers. Some employers are discovering they should always be recruiting because employees are walking in and giving their two week notice because they have been poached by a new employer.

Today, great candidates are being hired very quickly; offers are being extended literally right after the interview concludes. It’s that kind of market.

Is there such a thing as a perfect candidate? No, it’s an illusion.

If you were to ask one hundred hiring managers if they were ever able to hire the individual who met every so called requirement the answer would be no.

Your best bet is to hire someone who has most of what you need (notice the difference—you have been hiring for what you want) and to work with the new hire to close the gap on what is missing.

Look at it from the perspective of the new employee. If they already knew everything about the job before they started, how would they continue to learn and grow? They’d be bored stiff in six months.

On the other hand, giving them something to shoot for, closing the identified gaps, provides learning opportunities and ways to make contributions the organization.

I’d start by going back to those candidates that you interviewed and left hanging. If some of those individuals are available, make them offers. If they are no longer in the job market, ask them if they know someone who is looking.

Then, work on speeding up your hiring process followed by further clarifying what your minimums are for open positions. You don’t want to have to settle for that, but you should be prepared just in case.