Are you Pursuing a Dreamt-Up Candidate?

katy-smigowski by

Wake Up: Stop Pursuing a Dream Candidate

Are you losing sleep (not to mention time and money) pursuing a dream candidate? It may be time to wake up and reassess your hiring strategy.

Throughout my experience as a recruiter, there is one scenario I have come across time and time again:

A hiring manager asks you to fill a mission-critical req — the expectations are high and the list of qualifications are long.

As a recruiter, you scramble. You network, email, and call around in hopes of finding that perfect fit. Somehow, your hustle pays off and you get a rockstar candidate to agree to come in to interview on a moment’s notice. Even better, the team absolutely loves them. “You did it!” they say. “You found our dream candidate! You’re number one!”

Then, you wake up…

Okay, okay, so let’s agree the outcome described above is possible. Yes, finding your “dream candidate” for a particularly difficult and specialized job opening can happen. What’s not plausible, however is that you’ll be able to reliably pull that off time and again when you’re operating on a tight deadline. Sometimes a stellar candidate will interview for the role, but end up accepting another position. What then? Go out and find the other “perfect” person for the job?

Let’s Put the Concept of Finding “the Candidate of Your Dreams” to Bed

This is when recruiters and hiring managers need to come together and strategize a new approach. Maybe there is not one perfect person for your particular job opening. It’s possible the position could actually be two separate roles, bringing together the best talents of two individuals. You can also think about finding a candidate with a bit less experience who you can mentor and groom into that “perfect” candidate.

This whole scenario of pursuing a dream candidate is a great example of why it’s so important for recruiters and hiring managers to develop and maintain a dialogue that encourages feedback, innovation, and compromise.

As a recruiter if you find yourself sending the same types of candidates over and over and receiving rejections from the hiring manager, something needs to change. That goes for hiring managers, too — if you are receiving the same types of candidates who are not a fit, you may need to reassess the requisition and/or explain to the recruiter what they are missing so they can continuously improve their sourcing and screening methods.

Filling a job opening is certainly a two-way street. If you find that any position has been open for far too long, there may be a link missing that you need to discuss.

What Do You Think?

Should hiring managers and recruiters give up on finding the perfect candidate or should they stick to being incredibly selective?