Hiring? Stop Focusing on the “Ideal Candidate;” Expand Your View to get the Full Picture

Hiring decisions are big. The costs of onboarding a new employee, the impact someone can have on the chemistry of the team, the anticipated time it will take for them to ramp up to full capacity – it all weighs heavily on the minds of HR and hiring managers when it’s time to fill a position. It’s not surprising, then, that many organizations daydream about finding the “perfect” candidate to fill a position.

Unfortunately, the expectations we have in the workplace – especially for those in leadership positions –are increasingly complex. The profile of the “ideal candidate” often reads like this: a dynamic people person who is adept at creating methodical project plans, someone who is able to thrive while working independently, but also able to rally the team. Ideally, it sounds great, but the reality is the perfect fit is hard to come by. While you may find candidates who excel in some of these areas, chances are they will need some development in others. How you determine which of those qualities get top priority, and how you assess which attributes your candidates bring to the table, is the difference between a good hire and a failure to launch.

I recently had an opportunity to talk with one of MRG’s newer clients, who has quickly taken to the Leadership Effectiveness Analysis™, and has incorporated the assessment into several initiatives.  In one case, they had identified a team that was struggling with strategic aspects of leading, so they went in search of an addition to the team that could fill that role. Using the LEA to assess the behavioral profile of their final few candidates, they deliberately sought someone who displayed an inclination toward leveraging strategic behavior as a leader. The end result? They found their candidate, and she has been a “breath of fresh air for the team.”

While I was excited to learn about such a successful application of the tool from a relatively new client, I can’t say I was surprised. I recall another client telling me that they use MRG assessments in hiring, not to find the “ideal candidate,” but rather to get a full picture of the individual they are selecting and to know where to focus onboarding efforts to ensure success. Another long-time retail client told me years ago that they have found that when MRG assessments are used during the store manager hiring process, the store is more profitable.

More and more, the people I talk with who use MRG assessments in their hiring process find that it liberates them from the notion of the perfect candidate and leads them through a richer, more nuanced study of the candidates they are considering. This gives them a head start on understanding where the new hire will need development, and where their natural strengths and abilities will help them hit the ground running.

I absolutely LOVE getting to hear these stories of success, and I’m looking forward to sharing more of my wonderful conversations with our clients here on the MRG blog. If you have a success story you’d like to share – or you’d like to chat about how MRG assessments might fit into your hiring process – please get in touch!

About the author

Staci loves talking to people, so it's no wonder she leads the client relationship focus at MRG as the Chief Sales & Solutions Officer. When she's away from MRG, you're likely to find her on the beach (with her dogs) or indulging in the phenomenal food scene in Portland.

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