Horsehoes, Hand Grenades, and Hiring: When “Close Enough” is “Good Enough”22

Strong resume. Solid references. Excellent interview. This candidate has everything you want… Almost.

Like personal relationships, recruiting is all about finding the best person who possesses the qualifications you are looking for. And, like personal relationships, it’s virtually impossible to find the perfect fit. Hiring Managers invest extensive time and effort in developing the most successful hiring strategy. Including stakeholders in the decision making and job description processes, as well as building a solid assessment and screening process go a long way toward ensuring that a role draws top talent. These same Hiring Managers are also working under the strain of limited time to fill the role, a fixed budget, and a laundry list of candidate “must-haves.” The pressure to find the “perfect” candidate inadvertently leads to creating and looking for a candidate that simply doesn’t exist. Because of the parameters of the search, it’s easy to forget that “close enough” might, in fact, be “good enough.”

Is it possible for top talent to be “close enough” and “good enough?” We say ‘yes’ it is not only possible but, based on our experience, it is highly probable.

4 Things That Make Your “Close Enough, Good Enough”

1. Identifying Deal Breakers versus Nice-to-Haves. If a Hiring Manager enters a job search expecting to find a candidate with all the bells and whistles, he or she is going to be disappointed and frustrated. Part of the hiring strategy should be to recognize that not every skill set or experience holds the same weight. Some criteria are more important than others. Therefore, prioritizing qualifications and experience into “Deal Breakers” and “Nice to Haves” will help you keep an open mind and avoid getting hung up on details that are ultimately less important than others.

2. Remembering that Transferrable Skills and Industries Make for a more Well-Rounded Candidate (and Department). It’s important for companies to remember that in most cases, transferable skills from an ancillary industry should be seriously considered. Not only does this offer a fresh perspective on your industry and selling style, but it also has the potential to introduce your organization to a whole new approach to customer engagement. Additionally, candidates with experience from multiple industries demonstrate their ability to adapt to and perform in a variety of settings, sales cycles, and processes. For example, if you are looking for someone in SaaS, they most likely have not worked with your exact product or service. However, a successful background selling other services or subscription-based products highlights their ability to contribute consistently, meeting and exceeding their quotas and goals.

3. Pinpointing the Candidate’s Potential. Having the right technical skills is an important piece of the hiring puzzle, but it isn’t everything. Considering “soft skills” such as interpersonal and communications skills, thought processes and emotional and social intelligence play an important role in evaluating whether a candidate has the potential to gain the necessary skills he or she might be lacking on paper, in your particular culture and selling environment.

4. Character Counts. It goes without saying that a successful hiring strategy includes big data and “more than a feeling.” However, identifying character traits such as drive and leadership style is a pivotal part of the process. The “up and comer” with the willingness to “roll his sleeves up” will be able to contribute to the company’s long-term vision and be a team player- even if his previous job title or experience isn’t exactly what you thought you wanted.