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Should you take the risk of hiring an imperfect job candidate? The debate around this question seems to go on forever, and there is no exact answer. In some cases, it may be worth taking a chance on someone with a few flaws, and perhaps the ones passing the lowest on the list may make even better employees. However, it does not mean that you should hire someone just to cover the gap, even when you know for sure they are not the ideal fit for the available position. The key here is to evaluate each situation on its own merits. Before deciding whether to choose a defective candidate or not, be sure to go by the following rules:

#1 There Will Be No Perfect-matched Candidates

Rule no.1, finding the perfect match for a job vacancy is nothing more than a myth or simply nonsense theory. In the majority of cases, job seekers will not tick all the boxes on your wish list, and that is something you should be aware of from the beginning. Of course, there are always a few candidates who come pretty close to what you have in mind, but if you wait for someone who meets all your requirements 100%, you might as well never hire anyone. This is because these types of candidates either don’t exist or are already employed.

#2 Trust Nothing But Data

Job seekers will often try to make themselves look as good as possible on paper. This is something you should be aware of when reading applications and resumes. In order to gain the full picture, you should always ask for additional information that is not included in the application. This might be references, certificates, or other forms of documentation that can verify what the candidate is saying. It is also a good idea to use different assessment methods in order to get a complete understanding of the candidate. This could be anything from aptitude tests and work samples to personality assessments and structured interviews

#3 Do Not Dismiss a Job Applicant Too Quickly

First impressions are doubtlessly important, but they are not everything. Just because a job applicant does not look the part or because he or she seems nervous during the first few minutes of the interview does not mean that this is not a good candidate. It is important to give each job applicant a fair chance and to assess all candidates on the same parameters. This means that you should not write anyone off too quickly but that you should instead focus on finding out as much as possible about each candidate.

#4 Measure Potential & Long-term Capacity of Growth

One or a few interviews and tests do not tell you much about a job candidate’s inner strength and the possibility of growth in the long run. Maybe at the moment, a candidate may be considered imperfect to the job description, but he or she is a quick learner with the determination to learn and the ability to develop over time. So, these candidates have signs of a “gem” you can “sharpen” in time. They may not be the best options for the position at first, but with some guidance and training, they can turn out to be your company’s most valuable assets. How can you tell? By looking for signs of determination, coach-ability, resilience, intelligence, and good character via their behaviors and responses to stress in different situations.

#5 Skills Can Be Taught – Character Cannot

Of course, it is always better to hire a job candidate who already has the required skills and knowledge. However, this is not always possible. In some cases, you might have to weigh between a candidate with the right skills and the wrong attitude and vice versa. When faced with such a choice, you should always go for the latter. This is because character traits such as motivation, work ethic, and team spirit are much harder to change than skills.

#6 Have Due Regard to EQ & Characteristics of the Candidates

This rule is not applicable if you are seeking a highly logical position that entails accuracy and persistence. Software developers, for example. However, if the jobs you have open are more emotional and creative, then you must keep an eye on the personality and emotional intelligence of the applicants. Good EQ and characteristics will be extremely useful in such positions as they entail a lot of social interaction, such as customer service and sales or managers and team leaders. So, EQ and characteristics are a big plus for flawed candidates with fewer skills. Pay attention to them before you make a hiring decision or rejection. A little tip here for you is to leverage the pre-employment testing software (E.g., bravoGROWTH – a self-reflection tool) or surveys to investigate the inner aspects of a candidate before you can proceed further with them or reject them.

#7 Do Not Hire Someone Just to Cover a Vacancy

Last but not least, it can be tempting to hire the first candidate who seems even remotely qualified for the job just to fill the vacancy. However, this is usually not a good idea. If you hire someone who is not a good fit for the job, it is likely that this will lead to problems further down the road. This might be anything from poor performance and low morale to high turnover and absenteeism. It is, therefore, always better to wait for a suitable candidate than to settle for someone who is not right for the job.   Assessing a candidate’s potential is not an exact science, especially as you are considering an imperfect one. An unmatched applicant is not a lost cause. If they have what it takes to develop into your ideal candidate, they are worth your investment. You should keep an open mind for such opportunities and give them a chance to prove themselves. You might be surprised at the results. Hope that these rules of thumb are useful for you to avoid wrong hires and also not to miss potential talent for your company.

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Trung Tran
Technical/Content Writer
Trung is a writer who loves researching and blogging about all HR-specific topics and the latest.
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