Disappearing Candidates – Going, going, gone!

So you’ve found a good candidate for that job that’s been open for a while. But he’s the first person you’ve seen that comes anywhere close to being acceptable. And he’s missing one of the 7 requirements you have for this position. So, you tell your HR department or the recruiter that you’re working with that you still want to see more candidates. Big mistake!

What we’re finding now is that candidates with solid technical skills, especially at the individual contributor level, are flying off the market. They are getting multiple offers from companies that recognize the scarcity of technical talent and are willing to overlook the fact that they are not perfect, actually not even close to perfect. But if the candidate is smart and motivated, then that is really more important than having every skill you’d like him/her to have. Smart motivated people catch on quickly and are grateful for the opportunity to learn something new. And therefore, you both win.

If you’re really not sure that this is the right person for the job, do whatever it takes to come to a decision quickly. Check a reference or two asking the specific questions that can lead you to decide. Have him or her come back and interview with one or more others in your organization, maybe a user or a peer. And if you are still not sure, you might want to consider the contract-to-hire model where you initially bring the person on as a contractor and then convert them (or not) after a period of time, usually 3 to 6 months. This try before you buy model doesn’t always work because someone who is a full-time employee may need the security of a permanent position and may not want to consider contracting. But it’s worth asking.

That individual that you interviewed earlier? Unfortunately, now that you’ve decided he’s the one, he has taken a position with one of your competitors and is off the market. Better luck next time.

Helen MacKinnon – President – Technical Connections, Inc.

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