When meeting with a client to assist in putting together the candidate profile they seek for a particular executive hiring need, each person will give their list of qualifications and expectations for the position. It is important to remember that there is a difference between “must have” and “nice to have”. Clients must meet with relevant staff and whittle down the profile to requirements versus a wish list. This is important for many reasons not the least of which is the idea of “overqualified” or “under-qualified”. Both concepts can be misleading and unnecessarily limit the candidate pool.
Overqualified carries with it the bias that someone’s background is too “big” for what the client seeks or will be too expensive. This is especially dangerous because candidates look at and listen to jobs for a variety of reasons, not just salary. I’ve never heard anyone request an attorney that just graduated because it was cheaper. And if a candidate has strong qualifications but perhaps a long commute, a new baby, or just wants better work/life balance, they may monetize what they are gaining in ‘perks’ over what is paid in salary.
Under-qualified carries with it the bias that the person is too young, unseasoned, or is incapable for some unknown reason of ‘getting up to speed’. Desire, talent, intellect, drive, commitment to growth, ability to be a team member – all these attributes are important and cannot be measured. Technical skills can be evaluated and taught, what motivates and drives a person to grow and excel are not so easily measured.
An open mind is critical to a successful search engagement. Look at what the market has to offer for the position and then choose the best candidate for attainment of goals within the culture. Flexibility is key to a successful search. Strong candidate intangible attributes are the key to a great hire instead of an adequate hire. When choosing a third party to assist in executive recruiting needs, be sure it is one that gets to know you, your culture, and the soft skills necessary for candidate success as well as the must haves. That’s how GREAT COMPANIES hire GREAT PEOPLE.