When Should You Hold out for a Better Candidate?


You’ve gone through the painful slog of a candidate search and the candidates you’ve found represent the human equivalents of a shrug emoji. Basically, you and everyone in HR have traded emails giving various elaborated versions of a single sentiment: meh.

What now? Pick the best out of the pile of “meh” and move on with your life? Or start from scratch and hope to find that one shining star you know is out there somewhere?

It’s a complicated question. As you’ve just experienced, the job search process can be long and frustrating. It’s also expensive and represents a significant distraction from other projects that might have to sit on hold while you once again read resumes and meet with prospects. Also, there’s no guarantee that a second effort will yield any better results than the first.

So, what do you do?

To answer that question, here are four more to help you figure out whether it’s worth looking for a better candidate:

How Will You Get by If the Position Isn’t Filled Right Away?

Think about a baseball team. If you can’t find the perfect first baseman, you still need someone to stand over at first base. Otherwise, you’ll never get anyone out. In the abstract, a warm body – sticking anyone out there – is better than trying to field a team with eight players.

Now think about the position you have open. What happens if it stays open? Can you move forward with operations while you continue your search? Or will everything grind to a halt?

If things are likely to stop completely if you don’t get someone in that role fast, it might be better to hire a good-enough candidate now and look to upgrade later.

How Useful Is Good Enough?

We think of average as ho-hum. However, in terms of results, average tends to be pretty good. Typically, someone putting in an average performance is beating out half of people you could stick into that role.

We tend to imagine that we can find geniuses for every position and build an all-star team with top-level performers in every role. But someone willing to show up and do the work in a professional and predictable way has more value than a lot of managers realize.

Don’t immediately turn your nose up at adequate. An average performance might be enough to keep the company moving forward.

How Valuable Is a Great Candidate?

Another related question: How much extra value can you extract from a top-level performance?

Say you’re hiring someone to make copies. And say you find the best copy-maker in the world. Whatever you imagine the LeBron James of copy-makers to look like, that’s the person you bring in. What does that extra level of performance do to your bottom line?

Probably nothing. But if you get an exceptional marketing chief, it might add a lot to your potential profits. Before pulling out all the stops to bring in someone great, think about the value you’ll likely get from greatness.

How Far Down the Road Do You Want to Look?

All the previous questions have related to the job you are hiring for now. They boil down to this: Does it matter if you find someone great?

Remember, you aren’t just hiring for the current position. You are bringing someone onto your team who can presumably grow and change with your business. The intern you hire now could become a vice president down the line. Bringing in top-shelf talent can pay off in unexpected ways in the future.

If bringing in top talent is a priority for your organization, then partnering with a top recruiting firm can fast-track your approach. DHR can help take your team to the next level. Contact them today to find out more.

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