Hiring managers look for safe hires. Future employees that won’t rock the boat, have no obvious defects, and are ‘fine’ – but face it, ho-hum hires lead to ho-hum companies.
Fear plays too large a role when hiring. No one wants to be the one that hired “that guy”.
Every week, you see another post from another bleeding-heart writer about how companies need to care more about the feelings of their applicants: ’10 ways your hiring process repels applicants”.
Time out. Companies have every right to be terrified of hiring the wrong person. Bad hires are brutally expensive, and expenses kill businesses. Dead businesses don’t employ anyone. Everybody loses.
But how do you manage these fears so you don’t end up with mediocre employees?
Look for compatible flaws. What is with the obsession of trying to hire perfect people? Nobody’s perfect.
Perfect People Don’t Exist
Like unicorns or Santa (don’t let my kid see this), perfect people don’t exist. Even if your “perfect” people do exist, chances are that they probably aren’t putting in an application.
Once you accept that perfect is not realistic, the typical hiring process looks pretty stupid.
Review resumes, then find someone with the perfect degree, from the perfect school, with the perfect experience. Then meet candidates that interview perfectly, who offer the perfect answers.
Sounds good in theory, but as employers, we must face facts. The next applicant isn’t going to be Superman. We’re all human. With our unrealistic expectations, we can’t blame applicants for hiding their imperfections and interviewing with all the ‘right’ answers. We, the employers, have made and perpetuated that problem.
Perfect People Are Boring
When was the last time you have read a book or watched a TV show about a character with zero flaws?
The best characters have imperfections, despite their genius. It’s what makes them believable. Sherlock Holmes, and his 21st century equal, House, M.D., are addicts and jerks. Temperance Brennan, from Bones, is socially robotic. Patrick Jane, The Mentalist, is haunted by his past and fuelled by revenge.
Note: We’re not suggesting you hire a socially mechanical, drug addicted, who is laden with emotional baggage and out to punish those who have wronged him — although, it’d be a hit reality, ‘The Office meets Survivor’ TV show.
Use Hiring Wabi Sabi
Wabi Sabi is the Japanese art of imperfection. It is characterised by asymmetry, (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes. In short, to recruit applicants with flaws, given the right conditions, can be amazingly beautiful.
At the end of the day, our flaws define us. If we were all perfect, then we would all be exactly the same (…boring…).
It’s our imperfections that make us unique.
Employers: realise that awesome hires cannot be perfect. Look for hires who have flaws that are complemented by the rest of your team, and have strengths that can complement your team’s existing flaws.
Job Seekers: realise that you’re not perfect, and that is OK. Be as honest as you can, and accept it when your particular flaws can’t make the company’s canvas more beautiful.
What have your experiences been when recruiting for the individual over the ideal?
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