What Price Perfect

There is no perfect.

Sometimes we look so hard for perfect as we source candidates we miss what's right in front of us.

The old recruiters joke is that some clients are so picky if you presented Jesus to them walking on the water they'd say, Look! Jesus can't swim!

And so it goes.

But just like the middle-aged man who aspires to date a co-ed we may have our desires and our offering out of sync.


Let's turn this around and examine how you might look to the perfect candidate.

  • First of all, what's your brand in the marketplace? Are you respected, admired, powerfully standing in the clear? Or is your firm mired in the pack of also-rans with no real distinction between your business and others.
  • What about the engagement process? Did sourcers and recruiters behave professionally on every exchange? What about next steps? Did the candidate know where she stood following each contact?
  • When you reached out to communicate pre-interview instructions were they perfect? Whether on-site, video, Skype or phone call did the candidate get the right time, media, place etc., the first time you communicated to them? If using technology did it work flawlessly?
  • Examine your collateral for a moment. Were you able to quickly direct the candidates to websites, social media, third-party recognition and other content that spoke clearly to your vision as a company?
  • During the interviews were the people representing your firm spot-on? Timely, well-spoken, informed, educated and engaging? Look – if you wanna take the head cheerleader to the prom you gotta bring your A-game. Did you?
  • After interviewing was completed was the follow-up clear around timing, who was contacting whom, and did someone with the right authority and finesse conduct negotiations?

As you can see there's a lot [and even more] to being perfect. As Roy McAvoy told us long ago, perfection is unattainable.

On either side of the ledger.

And So It Goes

I'm not advocating you settle for less anywhere in your recruiting process. Look for the best people you can find – the athletes you can develop to take your company's game to the next level. We all should strive for that.

What I am suggesting is that our tendency to set up qualifiers, roadbocks and filters for no job-related reason is a mistake. A big one. And looking for perfect is the biggest mistake of all.

Don't need a bachelor's degree? Stop asking for it. Do you really require three years of experience, certification as an SPHR or fluent Spanish or are they nice to haves?

At last count there were over 10MM unemployed people in this country and those are just the ones we know of. Even if you're looking for one in a million that gives you a candidate pool of at least ten.

The heavy lifting and value-add of management is all about mining talent. We take those athletes, that raw skill, and coach, challenge and guide them. We call that development.

Be thankful for it, for if we ever really could hire perfect what the hell would we need managers for?



3 thoughts on “What Price Perfect

  1. Great post and makes me think of many examples of ‘but they must have experience of negotiating before’, ‘but they must have worked in transport before’.
    Stepping away from hiring ‘perfection’ also needs the bravery to take a (perceived) risk. And that needs the ability as a line manager to coach & develop. And it needs the support of a boss higher up the chain who sees this as a great opportunity to try something different and gain more. And that even if it’s not absolutely 100% perfect, it’s OK.

    • Absolutely agree – attitude, personality, perspective, person – that’s what we need to hire for a that’s what the essence is!

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