When it comes to recruiting, you want to be choosy with your candidates, but not unreasonable. Limited budgets, high demand and a fast-paced environment can make it difficult for an organization to give new hires time to adjust and get ahead of the learning curve. Given the high cost of the wrong hires, it’s understandable that employers prefer to proceed cautiously and search for the “perfect candidate”. But while this may seem logical, creating a requirement list a mile long will discourage otherwise qualified candidates from applying.
If you’re suffering due to slow hiring, it may be time to reconsider what you’re prioritizing in new candidates. Let’s review some areas of your hiring strategy where you may be too picky.
1. Focusing on Designations & Education
While having the proper training is a necessity for some forms of employment (i.e. Law, Accounting, Medicine), higher education and more designations do not always lead to stronger competencies. While education and degrees may help with the transfer of knowledge, they don’t guarantee the transfer of skill. By insisting that individuals must meet certain academic requirements, you may be excluding candidates from diverse backgrounds who otherwise could be a great fit for the role, but would eliminate themselves from the process based on their lack of academic credentials. This can also be a huge loss in terms of your diversity and inclusion efforts.
Rather than focusing on degrees, examine how the candidate learns or has applied themselves in the past. Look for ways they have demonstrated their skills and abilities. Focus on their volunteer work, side hustles or projects that can help you better understand their competencies.
2. Emphasizing Experience Over Potential
Hiring managers tend to get hung up on finding candidates who have already done the job. While this may make some sense, candidates who demonstrate the ability to learn quickly may often get overlooked due to their apparent lack of experience. However, having someone who has already done the job does not necessarily mean they are doing it well, or doing it right! Hiring someone based on their potential and attitude and letting them develop into something great is advantageous as these candidates come with fresh perspectives and unique ideas. Conversely, choosing not to hire someone because you think they have too much experience can be detrimental to your organization as well.
Rather than focusing on the years of experience(whether it be very few, or very many), organizations should evaluate whether or not the candidates have the ability to learn new things, continuously grow and develop, build relationships and adapt to new environments. These are the skills needed when taking on complex projects with increasing responsibilities.
3. Prioritizing Industry Over Skills
Oftentimes, hiring managers may be reticent to consider a candidate from a different industry. But career paths are no longer linear — more than ever, job seekers are open to change, and this should be seen as a positive as it demonstrates an ability to adapt! Additionally, diverse teams have been proven to outperform homogeneous ones. By hiring from outside of your industry, you welcome new and diverse ideas and ways of thinking into your team.
Rather than focusing on the industry a candidate comes from, evaluate their competencies, motivation and agility. Look at how the candidate views the workplace, and see if they have an open mind and can demonstrate cultural sensitivity. If all these boxes are checked, it would be a safe bet that their skills would transfer across industries!
If you’re still wondering whether or not you’re being too picky, a safe litmus test would simply be to look at your job requirements, and see how they stack up in relation to your current workforce, writes S Reed of Aquinas Consulting. Think: If you were to re-hire the majority of your organization today, would they still meet your current recruitment standards?
By setting unrealistically high standards, you may be screening out strong and capable candidates. Additionally, you may inadvertently create a brand of exclusion for your organization. Rather than holding out for perfection, reflect on your priorities, remember to celebrate people’s differences and give new candidates the tools and training they need to reach their full potential!
Stacy Pollack is a Learning Specialist with an MA in educational technology. She is passionate about building leadership programs that engage and contribute to the success of her organization. She loves to share her perspective on job hunting, career building, and networking for success. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.