When The Right Candidate Is No Candidate

You spend weeks, sometimes months, trying to find the right candidate for your team and you are down to the final two. Yet you can’t shake that nagging feeling that neither of them is right. Each candidate is represented by a different recruitment company who are doing their level best to convince you that their candidate is the best whilst, perhaps occasionally, suggesting you should avoid the other like the plague. 

One candidate has conviction and a powerful personality but limited experience, the other has some great experience but you struggle to see past their wooden personality.

Sound familiar?

So what do you do? What can you do?

  • You could take a reference. Except the person you really want to hear from is the candidate’s current manager and you can’t speak to them until after the candidate has resigned. Alternatively, you could speak to one of their ex-colleagues who may also have left recently, or a client, but are they going to be able to tell you what you want to know?
  • Ask them to complete a Psychometric Test. A great tool and very useful as part of a recruitment process but if you don’t use one on a regular basis then don’t do it as a one-off. Unless you are willing to pay for a full psychometric profile interpreted by a trained consultant who understands your company and the role, then it will only muddy the waters.
  • Ask the candidates to meet the team. If you haven’t already got a second opinion then it would be worth doing so and this could really help you make a decision. Be careful to ensure the candidates meet team members who you can trust to give you their honest opinion whilst representing your company well. 

If, after all this, you are still unsure then sometimes the right thing to do is to start again. It will take longer, the recruitment companies will be upset and the candidates frustrated but compared with hiring the wrong person into your business the cost is minimal. If the recruitment company is genuine about partnering with you they will understand, they may have already reached a similar conclusion and they will want to discuss options with you. They will have feedback from other candidates such as salary levels, location, reputation or working hours which you can look at altering to broaden your options.

Ultimately speaking if you have a hiring process that you believe in and have still not found the right candidate then have the courage to start again.

Having the right candidate in the role, regardless of level, can mean the difference between an OK year and a great one, a business that is struggling and one that is growing at record levels. Hiring the wrong candidate because of an inflexible process will always turn out badly, as America could be about to find out.

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