Why You Don’t Want 100% Matched Candidates

by Marcianne Kuethen
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As an employer or hiring manager, you naturally want to find matched candidates to fill your open position–professionals who can get up to speed and be productive as quickly as possible. Candidates should possess the exact experience, specific skills, and training they need to immediately perform well in the new job…or should they?

One aspect of our current candidate’s market is that today’s job seekers realize they’re in demand. Consequently, many are constantly appraising and considering other job opportunities. Why? Are they just greedy? According to a 2017 Indeed survey, 41% of workers do change jobs for better compensation or benefits. But it’s not just about money. 41% who change jobs are looking for career advancement, 28% want a better work environment, and 24% seek better work/life balance, thanks to the trending gig economy.

Imagine what type of candidates you’ll get if you only look at up-to-speed, been-there-done-that-already workers. Where is their opportunity to grow if they’ve already reached the level you’re seeking? For a candidate with the pre-existing skills and experience you require for your open job, the only major motivator left in your toolbox is increased compensation. Most employers don’t have an unlimited budget. And we all know that, while money motivates some people for some of the time, most employees are really looking for a sense of purpose and meaning in their work in the long run.

As much as you believe you want 100% matched candidates, wouldn’t it be wiser to hire someone who has room to grow? Absolutely, says hiring guru Lou Adler. Like Indeed’s survey, he has found that people want to grow professionally and be challenged. Adler actually recommends that you only hire candidates who have about 70% of what they’ll need for your position. He suggests that you accept a less-than-perfect match on all skills and be willing to train a little bit to get your new employee up to speed.

Is there a risk in hiring less than 100% matched candidates? CareerBuilder’s recent survey shows that nearly 3 of 4 employers have made a mis-hire. 35% of the employers surveyed said that they thought the employee could get up to speed faster than was actually the case. Whether you hire a 100% matched candidate or a 70% matched candidate, there’s always a risk when you hire a human, period! Because employees are not machines, there are many variables that can turn out well…or go awry. And we employers are notorious for having high hopes of our new hires…as well as occasional unrealistic expectations. Many mis-hires occur because of a lack of proper onboarding, training, adequate resources, or cultural fit.

Yes, not hiring 100% matched candidates will require you to train and develop them. But if you only consider candidates who are totally agile and qualified for the job, you could be short-changing your new professional. Giving your fledgling worker the opportunity to stretch his wings or grow her career inside the embrace of your organization could form bonds that will result in a longer, more fulfilling relationship.

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