Finding the Nearly Perfect Candidate


Finding the perfect candidate isn’t just difficult, it’s impossible. You’ll never find the perfect person to fill any job because we are all flawed (yes, even you!), so expecting the ideal recruit to walk through your door is unrealistic. You can drive yourself crazy interviewing candidate after candidate, only to pick apart and rule out each for the smallest shortcomings. The new reality of hiring is embracing imperfection and seeking the best candidates for the modern workplace — those who are almost perfect, but not quite. Here’s why:

Ditch Perfection at Work

In both new hires and seasoned team members, workplace perfection is overrated. Trying to be perfect is a colossal waste of time, causing employees to re-do work over and over instead of turning in their ideas. It squashes productivity and slows efficiency. More than that, it can hinder a candidate’s relatability. In the hiring process, a too-perfect candidate can seem cold or inauthentic. An employer can more easily connect with a relaxed individual who can accept his or her weaknesses and human side.

The Importance of Mistakes

A candidate error in a job interview is usually seen as the kiss of death. However, we’re learning that mistakes are valuable and that good employees should be encouraged to make them often. Organizations that welcome mistakes from their employees foster a culture of growth and new ideas instead of uniformity, stress, and anxiety. Candidates who can relax in an interview, even at the risk of saying the wrong thing, are more likely to give genuine answers to interview questions. These candidates show promise concerning fitting in with a team and forging ahead with a new approach or fresh idea.

Let Interviewees Reveal Their Flaws

Not only are recruiters and hiring managers learning to accept flaws, but candidates are learning that times have changed and it’s okay to be honest and realistic. They shouldn’t live in fear of the dreaded questions about past failures. Good answers with solid examples are much more important than appearing perfect. Look for candidates who aren’t afraid to admit big-time screw-ups or who can fess up about real weaknesses. Instead of looking for flaws, focus on how candidates fixed their problems.

Perfect Interviews Don’t Exist

Much pressure to make perfect hiring decisions rests on the shoulders of human resources team members. While they are trained to look for certain characteristics and be good judges of character, they aren’t perfect. The best way to find a candidate who is right for the job and nearly (but not quite) perfect is to rely on a rock-solid interview strategy. The backbone of your process may involve ditching the traditional questions and implementing an . For example, if you’re a creative company, drill into questions about thinking outside the box or about the candidates’ brainstorming processes. These questions will be more likely to reveal whether your interviewees are right for the job than giving demerits for less-than-perfect answers to conventional questions.

Let’s all raise our hands and admit that we’re flawed individuals, but that together we can accomplish great things in the workplace. The most interesting people are those who aren’t afraid to show their flaws or admit when they’re wrong. Cast aside old, idealistic notions of the perfect candidate and give interviewees a little wiggle room. You’ll be surprised at the caliber of people you can attract to your organization when you loosen up and adapt to newer, more relaxed expectations.

Alisiana Peters

Author: Alisiana Peters

Alisiana is a senior marketing coordinator at HiringThing, an award-winning online recruiting software provider dedicated to changing the way businesses hire talent. Questions? Contact HiringThing Marketing.