Hiring professionals are often in search of “the perfect candidate”, however, the perfect candidate is a myth. In fact, looking for a flawless candidate that checks all your boxes might actually hinder your hiring process. As an employer, it’s understandable that you don’t want to settle for anything less than the best possible fit, but what happens when you don’t find them because they don’t exist? You waste time and money, and potentially run the risk of putting strain on the other members of the department and getting behind on projects.

And when you turn down qualified applicant after qualified applicant during your search for perfection, you might find yourself deep in regret when you get to the end of the road. Keep in mind that top-tier talent isn’t just waiting around for you to change your mind, they’re out there pushing forward with their job search, and likely finding a new company to improve with their coveted skills. 

Instead, of dedicating your limited resources to chasing a fantasy, learn how to search for top talent that will help you achieve your business goals and complement your existing team. In this guide, we’ll cover:

  1. Key steps to take to refine your search process 
  2. How to pre-screen applicants to eliminate unqualified job-seekers
  3. Ways you can improve your interview techniques 
  4. Why you should be considering soft skills as well as technical skills 
  5. How to implement a formal onboarding process that will save you and your new employee headache

Refine Your Search Process

One of the major problems that many businesses run into when hiring is not knowing how and where to search for candidates that will best fit their needs. This can draw out your search process weeks or even months longer than it needs to be. 

When searching for job candidates, there are two main factors to consider: 

Where You’re Looking

The Myth: Your perfect candidate will come to you. 

The Reality: You need to look (and put your job listing) in the right places. 

While Craigslist might suffice for some positions, it’s likely that you’re going to be better off finding a pool of high-quality candidates on a niche site. These sites are generally tailored toward professionals in a certain industry and have parameters in place that help attract top-tier candidates in the field. 

What You’re Looking for 

The Myth: The perfect candidate that you have in your head exists without any compromises. 

The Reality: You need a list of qualities you are and aren’t willing to compromise on. 

It’s easy to create a picture of the ideal employee in your head, but this image might not be realistic or even what you truly need. Instead, make a list of the qualities your ideal candidate needs to have. Then consider whether there are areas that you’re willing to compromise—as with everything in life, you’ll likely have to make some trade offs when hiring. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find an exceptional new hire for your business. 

Effectively Pre-screen Candidates  

The Myth: Individuals who don’t meet your qualifications won’t bother applying. 

The Reality: You need pre-screening questions on your application. 

There are three fairly simple ways you can effectively pre-screen job applicants: 

Add Qualifiers to Your Application

Nothing wastes time like reviewing applications for individuals who don’t even meet the basic requirements of the job. To help cut down on this inconvenience, add some qualifying questions to your application. While you don’t want your application to drag on with a never-ending list of questions—after all, this might deter qualified candidates who value their time—you do want to be able to use automation to weed out unqualified applicants. 

This way, you will narrow down your search without having to devote any time to candidates that have no chance of being considered for the job.

Do Your Research

Fortunately, in the digital age, there are virtually endless ways to learn more about your applicants, but perhaps the most reliable way to check out their professional background is LinkedIn. 

Their LinkedIn profile should list their previous experience, relevant skills, and other job-related information you can use to verify their resume and make an informed decision. 

Check References

While checking references is usually done later in the process, it’s important to keep this resource in mind. Calling their provided references is another way to ensure they are truthful, trustworthy, and qualified. 

Prepare for Interviews

To get the best understanding of what your candidate is capable of, you’ll need to do some work on your end.

Ask Well-Thought-Out Questions 

The Myth: Interview questions are just a formality, the perfect candidate will sell themselves without prompting.

The Reality: Asking the right questions is imperative to getting the information you need about an interviewee.

Outdated interview questions that are vague or irrelevant to the position are going to leave you wanting for more in most cases, even if the candidate is a great match on paper. Instead, ask pointed questions that you’ve put thought into and will help reveal critical information about the applicant.

Asking candidates about achievements, failures, strengths, weaknesses, and hypothetical scenarios will better enable you to draw conclusions how they would respond to certain situations, their work ethic, and what they bring to the table.  

Consider Both Technical & Soft Skills 

The Myth: A candidate’s technical skills are the only thing that matters. 

The Reality: A candidate with certain soft skills can make for a better fit for the position than someone who checks all the boxes for technical skills. 

While technical skills are important, they are not the end all be all. Instead, you should be evaluating candidates based on both the technical and soft skills needed for the position. Soft skills include the ability to collaborate with a team and showing professionalism in the workplace.  

When you’re weighing the pros and cons of each candidate, keep in mind that technical skills can be taught, while soft skills cannot. 

Hiring managers agree that soft skills like communication, problem-solving, and initiative are critical when interviewing for any position. In fact, according to a recent survey, 73% of hiring managers look for candidates with a strong work ethic, among these other top soft skills: 

Establish an Onboarding Process

The Myth: Capable employees will be able to integrate easily. 

The Reality: Even the most experienced new hires can benefit from a well-implemented onboarding process. 

While it might seem like an unnecessary step from the outside, it can actually benefit both you and your employees to have an onboarding program in place. 

Consider this both from a company culture and performance perspective, if a new employee has the training they need, a support system, and starts building relationships right away, they’re more likely to succeed in your organization. Organizations who have implemented an onboarding program have reported 54% greater productivity from new hires and 50% greater retention.

With results like that, it only makes sense to start establishing an onboarding process for your new hires. 

Reach New Levels of Hiring Success 

Now that you’re no longer chasing the myth of perfection, you’ll be able to bring on intelligent, highly qualified individuals who bring their own unique benefits to your business. Building your team with these best practices in mind will help you save time, money, and stress, all while making your organization better. 


Author Bio

Samantha Rupp holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She is a contributing editor for 365BusinessTips.com as well as a marketing expert for The Travel Secret. She lives in San Diego, California and enjoys spending time on the beach, reading up on current industry trends, and traveling.