Recruiter’s Corner: The Myth of the Perfect Candidate

one person outstanding from the others, recruitment process Fellow recruiters, how many times a week do you:
• identify a candidate’s background/get a referral/receive a resume;
• have that preliminary discussion with a candidate;
• and then rapidly announce to team peers: “Hey, I’ve found the perfect candidate”?

Hopefully never.

That resume in your inbox lines up with your client’s must-haves for a perfect fit – but until you bring objective due diligence to your vetting, you cannot determine if the candidate lines up fully with your client’s needs. Recruiters can really only determine the right fit after lengthy digging – into the depths of the candidate as a professional and their alignment with the client’s requirements.

Crossing off those must-haves on your checklist for a perfect fit are just the beginning of the hunt for the right fit. The right candidate has the excellent professional tracking, including reasonable timelines of success and promotions of the perfect candidate, but can also answer other, non-linear questions specific to each client and position, including:

• What were the reasons for the candidate’s job moves, and what thinking, judgment, and strategy did they demonstrate in making their professional decisions?
• Is the specific subject matter expertise and hands-on experience really there, up front and center?
• Is the candidate open to new opportunities?
• What are the wants, needs, and professional goals of this candidate? Are they saying what you and the client want and need to hear, or are they genuinely allied to the client’s needs?
• Is the opportunity a good next move for this candidate?
• Does the candidate have concerns around travel and compensation?
• Is the candidate a cultural fit?
• Does the candidate have the emotional intelligence demanded by the company and position?

You had the perfect resume in front of you – but until you asked the hard questions above and cross-referenced the candidate’s answers successfully with the client’s needs, you can’t have the right one.

Individuals are unique – so is each company’s ecosystem; the recruiter’s job is to bring both linear and non-linear judgment to the vetting task, to move beyond perfect and get to right.

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