Hiring the right candidate for a job is a crucial decision that can significantly impact the success of a business. Many employers strive to find the “perfect” candidate who checks all the boxes and possesses all the desired skills, experience, and qualities and seamlessly fits into the company culture. However, the reality is that identifying this elusive perfect match can be a daunting and lengthy process. There may be occasions when it feels as though the ideal candidate simply doesn’t exist.

Instead of getting discouraged or settling for less, it’s important to explore alternative strategies and adapt your hiring approach. Recognising that the perfect candidate may not be readily available allows employers to adjust their expectations and focus on finding the best possible fit for the role and the organisation as a whole.

In this guide, we will delve into practical steps that can be taken when faced with the challenge of not finding that “perfect” candidate. We aim to shift the perspective from a rigid pursuit of perfection to a more flexible and adaptive approach because the reality is, there is no such thing as a perfect candidate, but perhaps the most suitable to deliver on the requirements of the job.

9 Proven Steps To Overcome The Search For The Perfect Candidate.

1. Revisit your job description and requirements 

When reassessing your job description and requirements, it is crucial to ensure their realism and alignment with the current market conditions. Take the time to critically analyse whether you may have set the bar too high, potentially limiting the number of suitable candidates. Consider differentiating between qualifications that are truly essential for the role and those that are merely desirable. 

By adopting a flexible and open-minded approach, you can broaden your scope and attract a larger pool of potential candidates. This willingness to adjust expectations and prioritise core qualifications can lead to a more diverse and inclusive hiring process, increasing the chances of finding the right fit for your organisation.

Too many organisations are fixated on the wrong criteria. According to the most recent study on what predicts job performance, the top predictors are not qualification and experience, but rather interest, skills and cognitive abilities. (Sackett, Zhang, Berry & Lievens 2023). When you screen on the least predictive criteria, you will ultimately miss out on potential and top talent. 

What to Do When You Can't Find that "Perfect Candidate: 9 Practical Steps

2. Enhance your recruitment strategies

To enhance your recruitment strategies, it is crucial to thoroughly review and make necessary improvements. A key aspect is leveraging multiple channels to ensure a diverse pool of candidates. This can involve utilising social media platforms, specialised job boards relevant to your industry, participating in networking events, and encouraging employee referrals. 

Furthermore, optimising your job postings is essential to capture candidates’ attention. Make them engaging and informative, showcasing the distinctive qualities of your organisation and emphasising the unique aspects of the role you’re looking to fill. This comprehensive approach will help attract a broader range of qualified candidates and increase the likelihood of finding the right fit for your organisation’s needs. The reality is that top talent is not trawling ads, searching for jobs, so you need to find ways to attract them to your brand long before you actually intend to hire them. External talent pools are about creating interest in your brand by standing out. 

3. Expand your candidate search

In today’s interconnected world, the availability of suitable candidates for job positions is not limited to local talent alone. When faced with difficulty finding suitable candidates locally, it is beneficial to widen the scope of your search and explore remote work options. 

By considering candidates from different cities or even countries, you open up a vast pool of talent and increase the likelihood of finding the perfect fit for your organisation. Embracing remote work allows you to tap into diverse skill sets, varied perspectives, and unique experiences that may not be readily available in your immediate area. It broadens your horizons and enhances your chances of finding highly qualified individuals who can contribute to your team’s success.

4. Implement a comprehensive interview process

Creating a comprehensive interview process is essential for making well-informed decisions when hiring. By incorporating a combination of behavioural, situational, and technical questions, employers can thoroughly assess candidates. 

  • Behavioural questions delve into past experiences and allow employers to gauge how candidates have handled various situations. 
  • Situational questions test their ability to think on their feet and solve problems in hypothetical scenarios. 
  • Technical questions help evaluate their knowledge and expertise in specific areas. 

However, to truly understand a candidate’s capabilities, it is crucial to go beyond traditional interviews. Practical tests, assignments, or simulations can be integrated to assess their skills and problem-solving abilities in real-world scenarios. 

In addition, incorporating one-way video interviews can offer an expedited way to gain insights into the candidate beyond their CV.  This multi-faceted approach provides a more accurate representation of a candidate’s overall potential, enabling employers to select the most suitable individual for the role. To summarise, you can screen candidates, then move them to video interviews, then skills and other tests or work samples, and then final interviews and psychometric tests. 

one-way video interview software is the future of hiring

5. Focus on transferable skills

It is essential to broaden the hiring criteria beyond specific industry experience and recognise the significance of transferable skills. By identifying the core skills required for a particular role, organisations can evaluate candidates from diverse backgrounds and industries to determine their adaptability and potential for success. This approach allows for a wider talent pool, increasing the chances of finding exceptional individuals who may bring fresh perspectives and innovative solutions to the table. 

Embracing transferable skills not only fosters diversity and inclusivity within a company but also enables the discovery of candidates with untapped potential, who can contribute to the organisation’s growth and adapt to new challenges effectively. By considering the value of transferable skills, organisations can create a more agile and dynamic workforce, capable of driving innovation and achieving sustainable success.

6. Cultivate internal talent 

Recognising that the ideal candidate might already exist within an organisation is a strategic approach that can yield numerous benefits. By actively seeking opportunities to develop and promote existing employees who demonstrate potential, companies can capitalise on their internal talent pool. This approach not only saves time but also fosters a sense of employee satisfaction and loyalty. 

By offering training and growth opportunities to deserving individuals, organisations empower their workforce, enhance their skill sets, and nurture their professional development. This investment in employees not only increases their morale and job satisfaction but also cultivates a culture of continuous improvement and internal advancement, ultimately leading to a more loyal and motivated workforce.

7. Consider potential and cultural fit 

When evaluating candidates, it is essential to recognise that technical skills alone are not sufficient. It is equally important to consider their potential and cultural compatibility with your organisation. A candidate’s ability to learn, adapt, and develop should be given weightage alongside their technical expertise. 

Assessing how well they align with your organisation’s values and team dynamics is crucial as it can significantly impact long-term success and employee satisfaction. By prioritising both technical skills and the candidate’s potential and cultural fit, you can build a strong and cohesive team that is capable of achieving organisational goals and fostering a positive work environment.

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8. Offer training and mentorship programs

When encountering a candidate who demonstrates competence in most of the essential skills but has some gaps in specific areas, it is advisable to explore the option of providing training or mentorship programs. By offering support and investing in their professional development, these individuals have the potential to become the perfect fit for the role and valuable assets to your organisation. 

Such an investment not only bridges the skill gaps but also fosters loyalty and motivation among employees. The willingness to invest in their growth showcases your commitment to their success and cultivates a sense of belonging, ultimately benefiting both the individual and the company in the long run.

9. Retain a strong pipeline

In the context of recruitment and hiring, it is essential to emphasise the significance of maintaining a robust pool of potential candidates, even if the ideal candidate for a current job opening is not immediately found. Building and nurturing relationships with promising candidates is crucial for future opportunities. 

This involves staying connected with these individuals, creating and managing a talent database and actively participating in industry events to establish connections with prospective hires. By consistently engaging with potential candidates, organisations can ensure they have a continuous supply of qualified talent and increase the chances of finding the right fit for their future staffing needs.

What to Do When You Can't Find that "Perfect Candidate: 9 Practical Steps

When the “perfect” candidate seems elusive, it’s essential to adapt your hiring strategy and explore alternative approaches. By reassessing job requirements, focusing on transferable skills, cultivating internal talent, expanding your search, and leveraging attraction strategies, you can increase your chances of finding the right candidates. Additionally, considering potential, and cultural fit, and investing in training and mentorship can help develop candidates into exceptional hires. Remember, the right candidate may not always match the initial checklist, but with a proactive and flexible mindset, you can build a talented and successful team.