Hobson Associates

5 Ways to Avoid Being Picky and Find the Right Candidate

Picky Hiring Manager“Why are you being so picky?!”... I was recently talking to a friend who is currently single and has been unsuccessful in the dating scene. She is quite the catch, and I am not just saying that because she is my friend. I remind her ad nauseam that her endless list of “need-to-haves” are without a doubt the reason she cannot find “Mr. Right”. I’ve witnessed her trials and tribulations firsthand, as we walked through her Match.com profile. Somehow there was something ‘wrong’ with each guy who reached out to her. Too short, too tall (imagine that!), too young, didn’t have a good job (or at least her idea of what a good job is). You name it, she had an excuse for why he wasn’t the right person.

This situation made me think about the job I have and how similar hiring is to dating. And just like my friend, sometimes employers are far too picky when it comes to looking for the right candidate. 

Wishful thinking, but let’s address some of the “need-to-haves” that employers get hung up on when making hiring decisions:

1. Eliminating Job Hoppers On the Spot:  

When I look at a resume, there are places I look first: Years spent at each job is one of the areas my eyes are drawn to, but not just because I want to make sure they were there for a long time. The story behind each transition helps me understand the candidate’s habits. There could be reasons why they changed jobs frequently or infrequently, (industry, timing, relocation.) Or alternatively, why were they only at one company their whole life? Do they truly enjoy the company that much, or is it a lack of drive to pursue something greater?  All of these fact-finding conversations paint a picture of whom the candidate is and why or why not they should be considered for the role.

2. Grammatical Errors: The same survey found that the number one reason hiring managers disqualify candidates is for a spelling error on their resume, and the second most popular reason is a grammatical one.

A resume is littered with errors is definitely a red flag. However, a job applicant with great potential should not be discounted for typing an “a” instead of an “e”, or forgetting to use a comma. Unless it a crucial part of their job, I think eliminating the person from your list before looking at their skills is hasty.

 3. Degree in unrelated field: I am a prime example of this issue. I graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice and I am now a recruiter. Do I think an education is important? My short answer, yes (I don’t have time to discuss the issues with our current system, but I digress). An education prepares you with skills that you will use at your job, but it should not limit you to only pursuing roles within your field. Many of the skills you learn in college are transferable and can be applied to many roles (with the exception of some roles-I don’t think I should be allowed to touch a scalpel with a Criminal Justice degree)

 4. Years of experience: Let’s be realistic here. At some point in our careers we have looked around at our colleagues and thought “I am way better at this than they are, and they have been here forever!” Not all tenured employees are created equal. You know it, I know it. Passing on someone with four years of experience because you wanted five could make you miss out on a stellar future employee. 

 5. Looking at job titles instead of what the actual role entails: Many of my conversations with candidates reveal that although they have one title listed on their resume, they are in fact doing more than one job, a completely different job, or even doing their boss’s job (and without being paid adequately for it). Digging into a candidate’s role at each company gives me greater insight as to what I can see being a better fit for them, regardless of whether or not they have maintained the correct title. And just because a candidate has held titles relating to their employer’s current need, does not always guarantee it is the right fit. 

So just like my picky friend who is a great catch-- your company is a great place to work, and it only makes sense that you want to find the best employees. However, your judgment can sometimes get clouded with all the information overload. Let me, your recruiter, help do the picking for you. Oh, and like the advice I gave my dear friend: Trust in the process, and I promise you that you will find the right candidate (or Mr. Right!)

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