Today’s topic is unicorns. Not the Silicon Valley-type, or start-ups, but candidates who are so exceptional that they are on-the-spot hirable. Every so often we come across one of these elusive creatures and send them to a client with a strong recommendation to Hire Right Now (or someone else will do it for you).
Unicorns aside, the rest of us are rather more ordinary. We fall into the bell curve of ability – most of us somewhere in the middle. But clients, of course, always want to hire from the right-hand tail: the better-quality candidates (if they can’t get their hands on a unicorn). The only problem is that everyone else wants to. We try to persuade clients that every candidate we send is worth interviewing – and the reasons why. Part of our job is to give clients options so that they don’t have to hire the best of the worst (the usual experience with a job ad). We’re trying to secure the best of the best – in that right-hand tail.
But when that’s done, we do want our clients to hire someone. There has to be a balance between ticking all the boxes with a perfect candidate according to the job description, versus finding the right person to fit with the culture to train for skills. Sometimes employers lose sight of that and persist in looking for exactly the right candidate when, just perhaps, one of the people who doesn’t totally match the JD is the right hire, and will be even better if given a bit of training or whatever. That old saw – hire for attitude, train for skills – often hits the right spot.