Q&A: Why you should consider the imperfect candidate

Lora Patterson, HR Advisor at Zenefits
Jun 30, 2022

Every hiring manager wants to find the absolute best candidate they can for an open position at their company, but is that the best approach? Lora Patterson, Senior People Ops Advisor at TriNet Zenefits, says the answer is actually no. If you want to find the best new hires for your company, you should strongly […]

Every hiring manager wants to find the absolute best candidate they can for an open position at their company, but is that the best approach?

Lora Patterson, Senior People Ops Advisor at TriNet Zenefits, says the answer is actually no. If you want to find the best new hires for your company, you should strongly consider imperfect candidates.

What does that mean? And why on earth would anyone do that? Listen to this episode to find out.

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On this episode, you’ll hear:

  • [00:54] The perfect candidate doesn’t exist
  • [01:34] Men vs. women, diversify your pool
  • [03:34] Develop and coach their employees
  • [04:42] Start small


Welcome to POPS, the show that shows you how to shift from human resources, paperwork to people, operations for the new world of work. How by answering one question at a time I’m Lora Patterson, Senior People Ops Advisor at TriNet Zenefits here to help answer the question why you should consider an imper candidate.

Every hiring manager wants to find the absolute best candidate they can for an open position at their company. But is the best way to do that by finding someone who meets as many of the job requirements as possible. The answer is actually no. If you find the best new hires for your, you should strongly considering imper can, what does that, and why on do that?

Here are few compelling reasons why it comes down to it. A completely perfect candidate simply doesn’t exist. Even if you do find someone with exactly the skills and expertise you’re looking. Who says they’re gonna take your offer. Maybe they want a certain amount of money and it simply isn’t in the budget for the right someones, every criter job posting.

There’s no guarantee. So not some flexibility and room for the heard somewhere that apply to a job when they meet an average of 60% of the criteria while women hold out for much closer to a hundred percent of the qualifications. As Tara Moore wrote Harvard business review, she found her survey results.


putting themselves out just but just of cited. The found that the women more found that 15% of the women who responded to our survey said they strictly follow a job posting guidelines about who should. But only 8% of men she found do the same unsurprisingly more wrote given how much girls are socialized to follow the rules.

A habit of following the rules was a more significant barrier to applying for women than for men. When hiring managers look for a perfect candidate, chances are the pool is going have many more men and probably more white men. If you wanna increase your company’s diversity, then start looking at applicants who don’t need every single bullet on a job posting.

There’s a reason that businesses are beginning to look for candidates who are a culture ad rather than a culture. It makes sense that companies hire for culture who fits into way, especially when it comes values. The problem is the, or they’ll tend to see things the same way too. Innovation relies on people, seeing things differently than everyone else, especially if your company values disruption and doing things differently, employees who are different from each other support that.

The same is true with candidates and job postings. If you’re only looking at the same candidates who meet the same requirements, you’ll looking at a of candidates who are all the same plus at the application stage, you just the interview it’s in the I is when you’ll the ask skills to ask them about their skills and experience and how they see themselves applying those things at your company or in a particular.

Give people the chance to explain themselves and

managerial it’s

help people on their team become not only better at their. But develop professionally as well. If you have a manager who relies on everyone coming in and knowing exactly what they’re doing, you could be missing the bigger picture, effective managers and leaders know how to develop people. That means that when the right capacity and potential even perfect candidates can become amazing employees, rather than looking strictly at skills and experience, find ways to assess a candidate’s capacity for learning and potential for.

Not only does this mean they’ll be able to learn the hard skills necessary for the job, but that they’ll be able to grow beyond that position as well. Someone who spent their entire career excelling at one or two things might meet all of your criteria, but that could be where their contributions end.

It’s not that hiring candidates isn’t daunting or scary. It’s always a challenge to deviate from the way things have always been done. But from a homogenous company to a lack of innovation, there’s a lot that you lose when you don’t consider imperfect candidates making a change doesn’t mean diving into the deep.

Try adding just one or two imperfect candidates to the interview queue and take it from there. There’s a good chance that you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find. Do you have a question for us? Click the link in the show notes, or if you’ve got other ideas and feedback about our show, send them to [email protected]

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