Perfection is overrated

By April 12, 2016 Hiring & Recruiting

Some people say perfection is an illusion. But it’s hard to resist its temptation when you’re interviewing someone that’s as wonderful in person as they are on paper. Great personality? Check. Smart? Check. Experienced? Check. Funny? Check-check.

Your inner idealist tells you that it all adds up to the perfect new hire, which bodes the question – how much room is there for your organization to grow and improve if your candidate sounds like they’ve already peaked? And as an extension – is perfection really what you should be looking for in the right hire?

Experience tells us – no, it shouldn’t be.

Here are 5 telltale signs we tend to ignore when swept off our feet by the seemingly perfect, potential new hire.

  1. They’re a bit too sure of themselves. If they seem like they know it all and talk like they know it all– they probably think they actually do (know it all). It’s great to have informed, educated employees, but if there’s nothing left to learn, how valuable are they? Self-confidence has a distinctly different sound than arrogance, and people who are just the right amount of certain had to be wrong at some point – which was when they learned something.
  2. Have a lot of industry experience. And by a lot, I mean maybe too much. While experience in the same or similar industry looks great, the days of hiring someone with ten+ years of doing the same thing at the same kind of place are long gone. Different experiences teach us more, enhancing our skills and broadening our horizons, so to speak. They also help ensure that your new hire can bring a fresh perspective to your growing business. Besides, people who try new things are simply more interesting.
  3. Decide not to ask any questions. At all. Hopefully, as we pointed out in one of our other recent blog posts, you’re interviewing people who are interested in this job, at your company. This would imply they know about your brand, initiatives and accomplishments – but it shouldn’t imply a lack of curiosity. This kind of goes hand-in-hand with #2. Knowing a lot doesn’t mean there isn’t more to know. You’re looking for someone who knows a lot but is out to add to their knowledge base.
  4. They’re not very opinionated. Sometimes, it seems like a blessing when your new hire tends not to challenge decisions or ideas. Especially at a growing business where there are already more than enough audible opinions. But opinions are like filters that help things get better and get done, and collaboration is (one of the many) keys to success. So if someone can’t state their absolute love or uncertainty for an idea, or avoids conflict at all costs, they may not be up for the challenge.
  5. They’re quite serious about this job. Maybe too serious. The new hire that can put their head down and get through a week’s worth of work in a day of two is great. What more could you want for your growing business, than someone who is highly productive, right? Wrong. Seriousness can get very old very quickly. Even if they’re the perfect match, they also need to get along with your team, and their values should align with those of your company. Seriousness is nice – but there’s a time and a place.

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