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Are you looking for candidates that don't exist?

Every business wants to hire the best of the best, yet with so many candidates to choose from, many organisations set certain criteria to narrow the pool. However, while there’s nothing wrong with refining your recruitment strategy, be careful not to be too restrictive, or you could inadvertently miss out on a potential hire who could have been an ideal fit for your business.

Recruiters are obliged to adhere to your specifications, which can mean promising applicants are overlooked, simply because they’re unable to pass the screening process. To get a sense of the extent of the problem, consider how many of your existing employees would be passed over by the screening process were they to apply now. Would you yourself make it through?

In fact, too many restrictions could mean you end up with no applicants at all. Not because no one is suited to the job, but because each candidate falls just outside of your specifications. 

Challenge the Status Quo

By realigning your talent strategy to include atypical candidates, you also embrace the opportunity to take someone on simply because their passion and talent for the role inspires you. These candidates may require additional training to get them started, but have the potential to grow into highly skilled and committed members of your team. 

Placing trust in your employees in this way not only gives them the opportunity to grow and to test their limits, but encourages them to go above and beyond to prove they’re up to the challenge.

There are no hard and fast rules for finding the perfect candidate; you have to go with what works best for your business. Some roles will require highly skilled individuals with years of experience. Others will be more flexible. By taking the time to consider which qualities are essential, and which are simply desirable, you can transform your recruitment process, and greatly increase the chance of finding the right person for the job.

Embrace Diversity  

Workplace diversity is invaluable, as it enables each person on your team to provide a unique perspective, based on their individual knowledge, experience, and skillset. Yet many firms exclude applicants due to factors such as age, or even on the basis of psychometric testing, despite the fact that these tests are highly subjective.  

Everyone’s story is different, and the fact that a candidate didn’t achieve a first class degree, or didn’t attend a Russell Group university does not necessarily mean they won’t have the right talents for the job, or the passion to succeed. Similarly, a lack of prior experience within a given field does not mean a candidate lacks the interest or ability to excel within that field. 

Older candidates may not have modern qualifications, or may be perceived as being the wrong ‘cultural fit’. However, these applicants can also provide invaluable knowledge and insight, which can only be acquired through years of experience. Furthermore, age is no indicator of how well an individual will gel with the rest of the team, or how readily they will begin to fit in. Read more on this topic in our post on age diversity in the workplace.

Offer A Chance To Shine

Remember, the screening process is just the first step, and your recruiters will only put forward individuals that are likely to be a positive match for your business. By reevaluating your priorities, you give these otherwise overlooked candidates a chance to prove themselves at interview. This is where you can identify the real innovators, the creatives, and the untapped potential of candidates who haven’t yet had their chance to shine.

You can save yourself a lot of time and effort by refining your specifications, and avoiding casting your net too wide. However, each restriction should be carefully weighed up, to ensure that it is being implemented for the right reasons.

A well-balanced team is formed of people from all walks of life, with varied talents and experiences. A cookie-cutter screening process results in a team of similar, but not necessarily complementary employees. In contrast, choosing recruits for their unique strengths enables you to create a dynamic and harmonious team, with room for growth, and a will to succeed.

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