3) AN EYE FOR POTENTIAL
The importance of finding the best fit cannot be overstressed. This does not always mean hiring the person who is the most qualified. Potential, which is admittedly difficult to quantify, can sometimes outweigh experience, education, and credentials. You are not required to hire the most qualified person as long as you select someone who meets the minimum requirements of a job. Some people have a problem with this, equating time devoted to a task with mastery. But just because someone has done something for a long time doesn’t mean they’re good at it. Consider, too, the upside of hiring for attitude and potential and then training for skill, as needed. In other words, it’s more plausible to teach someone how to perform a tangible skill such as how to use software programs, but a good deal harder, if indeed even possible, to teach someone how to be open-minded or have a good work ethic. Stated another way, someone with best-fit qualities reflects the organization’s culture: that is, specific characteristics that define a business. Corporate culture may include an emphasis on teamwork, strategic thinking, technological awareness, and a host of other skills and attributes. Effective recruiters understand the components of their corporate culture and look for individuals whose work style and behavior are compatible.
The best HR recruiters also understand that just because they find an individual they want to hire, that person may not be sold on accepting the offer. Sometimes it’s because of salary and benefits, but there are lots of other reasons why a person accepts or rejects a job offer, such as the commute, limited growth opportunities, or the hours. Effective recruiters are salespeople of sorts: They may need to sell the merits of working for their organization, showing a willingness to compromise where possible. For example, suppose a viable applicant needs to leave work two days a week at four instead of five, in order to get to a class on time; offering them a start time of an hour earlier twice a week may be all it takes to seal the deal.
Finally, effective recruiters won’t settle. As frustrating as it may be to leave a job vacant for an extended period of time, they know it’s worse to fill it in haste, only to recruit again when the person hired doesn’t work out. When a job remains open longer than expected, the best recruiters will rethink the sources they’re using and ensure they’re on the same page as the hiring managers. Sometimes it’s just a matter of being patient.
Excerpted with permission from Recruiting, Interviewing, Selecting, and Orienting New Employees by Diane Arthur, copyright Diane Arthur.