Guess Why You Cannot Find the Right Candidate... You Are in the Way!

By Devay T. Campbell, PHR

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As a recruiter and career coach with experience in various industries, I have learned that recruiters, including myself, often get in their own way. The pressure to find the right candidate in the right time for the right price can be stressful.

While there is no fool-proof way to make sure you are selecting the right candidate, there are a few steps that you can take to improve your interviewing and selection process.

Nobody is perfect

You need to stop expecting perfection. Nobody is going to be perfect. It is your job as a recruiter to find the candidate that is the best fit, not one that is flawless. You can start by creating a list of what you must have and what would be nice to have in a candidate. Do not be afraid to entertain an A- or B+ candidate that has potential and can be an overall great fit. The candidate with A+ skills, but a D- fit or poor personality, is not worth the trouble. It is easier to train the good fitting candidate than it is to train an overqualified poor fitting candidate.

Do not make this personal

Remove your personal biases. Save yourself some time and your company litigation fees by allowing your candidates to stand on their own merits. Stereotyping candidates can land you in a pile of trouble and cause you to miss out on viable talent.

Some biases are not illegal, but you should not allow them to cloud your judgment. Such areas include a candidate’s political affiliation and the “just like me” or “not like me” mentality. These biases kick in when you start to think that a candidate will or will not do a good job based on how they compare or contrast to you. Different people may have a different approach to the job, and this is ok if they get the job done in an ethical and efficient manner.

Listen closely to your candidate

It is really important that you give your candidate time to speak. You need to listen to them and pay close attention to what they have to say. Move beyond reading a script of questions and looking for certain phrases or key words. What about what is not being said? Structuring your interviews are great, but you can learn a lot from opening the floor for natural conversation.

If the job candidate is sharing their likes and dislikes about previous jobs, you need to be on the edge of your seat listening. Give special attention to the questions they ask you at the end of the interview. These questions will give you insight into their needs and priorities. Are they asking you about the schedule, money, benefits, perks and paid time off? Are they asking relevant questions about the company and opportunity? Are they not asking any of these questions at all? Listen carefully and take note of what they share.

Try to plan for future openings

If it is possible, you need to plan ahead for potential openings and building an interview process.  Frequently check with your hiring managers to see if they anticipate openings in the next 60-90 days. Sometimes, they are aware of an upcoming opening but fail to notify you until the need is immediate. If you have advance awareness, you can start to develop a plan and monitor potential candidates. When you are put into a situation where you need someone immediately, the process may be rushed and you will not have time to properly source and interview applicants.

Last, give yourself permission to make hiring mistakes. Regardless of the reason, if a candidate does not work out, you should not take it personal. Cut your losses and move on.

There is someone that is perfect for the position waiting to connect with you.

I would love to hear about your experience. Are you in your own way? How do you overcome the fear of hiring the wrong person?


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