There’s No Such Thing as a “Perfect Candidate”

No one is perfect. Everyone knows this. But why do we still write job descriptions with a laundry list of qualifications that no one will ever be able to fulfill? For recruiters today, the job search is a process of focusing on the requirements that the employer really needs—because, as we mentioned, there is no such thing as a perfect candidate. With that negative also comes the positive; every candidate is unique and has something to offer.

In a job market where there aren’t enough candidates to go around and more than a million open positions, organizations don’t have room to hold out for the perfect candidate that never appears. What can your organization do to uncover the best candidates while still understanding that even your top pick won’t be perfect? This is the reality of today’s job market, so here’s some tough love to help you in your next job search.

How to Write a Better Job Ad

The question today becomes what skills can I train versus what skills the candidate absolutely needs to do the job? It’s a good question when the average time to hire is around 41 days.

The days of creating an unrealistic job post are over. Now you must create a job post based on the reality of the candidate you are willing to accept and potentially train up. It’s important to avoid listing too many job requirements that will scare away perfectly good candidates who simply need a little training. Unfortunately, this is a compromise based on the reality of today’s job market and one you must face whether you like it or not.

Instead of creating a job ad with a giant laundry list of your perfect candidate (which doesn’t exist), instead, focus on the top three to five hard skills that the candidate must have. Then add in three to five soft skills, which you can’t teach. Also, write down the top three priorities for the candidate to focus on for the next year. Finally, consider what resources you have available to train this new employee. The assumption you must make now, based on the job market, is that investing in training for the new hire will be a necessity.

As the last step, try to write the ad from the job candidate’s perspective. What’s in it for them? Don’t assume that you still have the power as the employer. Today’s candidates are fickle and looking to your company for better pay, work environment, and benefits. If you can give this to your employees, you’ll not only retain the ones you have but stand a better chance of attracting new talent.

Concentrate on Passive Candidates

The Harvard Business Review says you’re approaching the job search process from the wrong direction. Instead of focusing on applicants who apply to your role—and there may be a few—run a parallel work stream concentrating on passive, targeted candidates. Third-party recruiting firms like ADD STAFF understand this focus well. We spend each day defining the candidate requirements, then searching for those “needle in a haystack” passive workers who you would love to have on your team. Passive candidate search is massively beneficial to your organization, but the reality is that most internal HR teams don’t have the time to do this.

Passive candidates may be open to new opportunities, but they haven’t applied to a job. Reaching this hidden talent pool is a critical secret strategy to employ if you have job openings that you can’t seem to fill. It also builds your network of candidate contacts over time.

Reach Out Today!

ADD STAFF understands the realities of today’s candidate search market. Call on us to find out how we can help.