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| 1 minute read

Hire the 'right' candidate not the 'perfect' candidate

I love a myth buster – who doesn’t? I came across one recently on Field of Talent  Your perfect candidate doesn’t exist claiming “only in your dreams” do you find your perfect candidate. They countered this with the suggestion that instead of the perfect candidate, hiring managers should be aiming to secure the “right” candidate.

This got me thinking that whilst this was written almost a year ago, this idealism of the perfect candidate is still something we see in public sector recruitment today. The hiring managers we are working with are sometimes searching for the pink unicorn with purple horn covered in glitter – OK, not really but you get the picture.

The perfect candidate would be amazing if they existed for every role, but what our expert Recruiters and Sourcers on the Public Sector Resourcing framework are aiming to do, is support hiring managers by encouraging them to consider transferrable skills vs their perfect “wish list”, and to stop looking for a needle in a haystack.

The point made in the Field of Talent article is incredibly relevant in today’s candidate market and I really like the suggestion to be more open minded during the hiring process, not getting caught up in qualifications which can lead to the exclusion of potentially great candidates.

HBR’s article when to take a chance on an imperfect job candidate also cover this topic well. It states “When evaluating candidates for a position, start by understanding that you’ll never find the perfect candidate for the job — that person doesn’t exist. Hiring the wrong person can do a lot of damage, so start by using data to understand the basic requirements of the role.”

Ultimately, my recommendation – when it comes to hiring the “right” candidate, don’t ignore the counsel of your recruitment/talent acquisition teams. They are close to the market and can provide you with insight into candidate availability, they can help you down select your extensive wish list to a top 3 essential skills requirements, and they will draw your attention to the transferable skills of a candidate that you might otherwise overlook.

As recruiters and people leaders, let’s commit to leaving the idea of a “perfect candidate” in the past.

As recruiters and people leaders, let’s commit to leaving the idea of a “perfect candidate” in the past.


candidate attraction, ams, cws, direct sourcing, future of work, talent acquisition