In the summer 1976, a young Romanian woman achieved the impossible. She scored a perfect 10 on the uneven bars gymnastics event during the Montreal Olympics. Prior to that, there was never a perfect 10 scored in the (approximately) 75,000,000 year history of the Olympic games.
Nadia Comaneci was one in a thousand that achieved perfection; the perfect gymnast. Well, at least in that event. Yet, how many years elapsed before this occurrence of perfection? (We came up with roughly 74 million, but we’re recruiters, not mathematicians, so you may want to independently verify.)
Although the scoring of events has changed since then, the question remains the same: How long will it be before we find a perfect gymnast? Or in our situation, how long will you wait for the Perfect Candidate? Do you have 74 million years? We don’t think so.
Finding The Right Candidate, If Not The Perfect One
1) A resume is like the cover of a book; not a suitable basis for judgement. Applicant’s have far more depth than a single sheet of paper can reveal. Companies hire people, not resumes.
2) Using a headhunter can unearth other important aspects of a candidate that didn’t even make it to the resume, but may be of value to a client.
3) Have an open mind. In today’s market, flexibility is key. Listen to your recruiter. They see far more of the job market than you do, and can advise you when to hold out for a better candidate or when to just settle.
4) A resume from a recruiter is worth more than a hundred resumes from other sources. Recruiters aren’t trying to waste anyones time with poor prospects. If your applicant came from a recruiter, then the recruiter strongly feels this is a good candidate for you.
5) If you’re on the fence over someone’s resume, then talk to them. Again, you can’t really get the feel of someone from a piece of paper. How hard is it to give them a call on the phone and feel them out? They may surprise you and turn out to be ideal candidates.
6) Don’t judge a candidate for job changes until you know the circumstances surrounding it. There are plenty of valid reasons someone might switch ships.
7) If a candidate is pretty close to ideal and only missing a few secondary skills, are those skills that critical? Wouldn’t it be better to hire someone who is nearly perfect and train them on the missing skills? Likely, training the person in the areas they are lacking in will take less time than waiting for someone with all the skills you’d like.
Employers often tell me that they haven’t filled a position for several weeks or months because they’re holding out for the perfect candidate. This makes me cringe. The reality is that the odds of making a perfect ten in gymnastics is more within reach than finding a new hire who is perfect.