Compromising While Recruiting: Getting Past the Industry’s Established Requirements

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If you have been in the recruiting game for a while now, you should know that talent has become scarcer than ever. We’re living in a candidate market now, so the rare gems you’re looking for are well-aware of their value and, trust us, they just won’t settle for any less. Since candidates now get to choose where they work, companies can no longer afford to be as picky as they used to—or they would risk losing qualified candidates one at a time, until there’s no one left. Most people working in recruitment know they no longer have the upper hand, but there’s still a fair amount of companies that haven’t quite understood the current situation and that rather leave a position empty for years instead of adapting to this new market.

Utterly Unsatisfied

Being a recruiter or a hiring manager is not an easy job nowadays, especially when you have a client that won’t budge even a little on their requirements and you know the candidate pool is basically non-existent (or already working for Google or Facebook).

We all know the perfect candidate doesn’t really exist, but do companies actually realize this? When they ask for a professional with 8 to 10 years of experience and a PhD, recruiters and hiring managers go out of their way to find this very special person. However, the odds are they’ll probably end up finding an excellent candidate who has 5 years of experience, a Master’s degree, and an overall great profile—and yet this still won’t be enough. Company executives will want to see more candidates, hoping they’ll come across someone more qualified, until there are no more. A-list candidates might get rejected for the most absurd reasons. There are even some cases where a single skill the company wants them to have will cost them the job—a skill that can probably be learned on the job during their training.

Can We Compromise?

In order to start a hiring process, an organization needs to be aware of the talent pool available for their open positions. Depending on the requirements, this talent pool will either shrink or grow; hence, compromising on skills or years of experience might make all the difference in their search for the “almost perfect” candidate. So, in what aspects can employers compromise in order to be able to manage a broader candidate pool?

1. Years of Experience

This requirement tends to be the most flexible on the list, but there are some organizations that simply won’t compromise to decreasing this number. In some cases, it can turn out to be even better to hire someone with little experience who you can mold and train in the company’s image. So why not go ahead and lower that 7 to a 5? That professional will probably have learned the same things in 5 years that in 7 and if that isn’t the case, they will probably continue learning on the job.

2. Industry Experience

Some years of industry experience have always been a common requirement in job ads, even though what usually matters most is how qualified the person is at the job—not how well he knows the industry’s intricacies. So, why do some companies really go as far as rejecting an excellent candidate just because they lack the industry experience even though they make up for it in other aspects of their profile? It’s no use to insist so much on industry-specific knowledge, especially when most of it can (and should) be taught and learned during the onboarding process and on the job.

3. Skills

As TechCrunch pointed out some years ago, employers are now looking for multi-faceted profiles to the extent of what’s sometimes simply unrealistic. “An engineer doesn’t just code in one language on one platform, but is now expected to […] know at least something about product design, marketing, and customer support […]” When the job implies so much complexity, it makes it even harder for recruiters to find the right person.

Again, why not compromise on some of the skills that aren’t crucial to the core of the job? After all, most skills have to be developed with time and experience, especially soft skills. According to some studies, more and more companies should invest more in training and “re-skilling” their workforce. So why not give it a try and offer candidates the opportunity to develop the skills they’re lacking, either in-house (through their onboarding process) or externally (signing them up to external training and seminars, for example). It could even end up costing you less in the long run! Think of it as a way to increase your staff’s loyalty and performance.

4. Qualifications

As we said before, this is probably the most inflexible point. Most professionals need a specific education and qualification to be able to perform a job. However, the most qualified candidates tend to already be employed by big companies that won’t let them go. Instead of looking for a candidate with a PhD, try asking for a specialization or a Master’s degree, you’ll see your candidate pool grow right before your eyes.

Also, keep in mind that, in some cases, a high-level education can easily fill an experience gap, but the opposite is also true. People that have worked years in the industry have acquired a knowledge that is equivalent to what they would’ve learned if they stayed in school longer. Plus, chances are your company will greatly benefit from their hands-on, practical expertise.

To sum up…

Bottom line is, there’s no use in being so strict with hiring requirements. We’re not saying you should hire everyone and anyone who sends in their résumé. It’s simply a matter of seeing people’s potential and hearing them out, rather than rejecting candidates because they lack a few skills or years of experience.

Kathya Brunet & Vanessa Fardi
Content Marketing Manager & Digital Copy Editor