Early Dismissal of Candidates Will Cost You a Hire

The other day I was looking for a senior account executive in Texas for a software company. As a recruiter and a sourcer, my job is to find the best available talent for a role.  I passed on a candidate because I didn’t feel he was the best candidate available. Oddly enough, my competition presented the candidate who I passed on and it got the hire.

I want to look at what I did wrong. I don’t like losing, and I especially don’t like losing to competition.

I look at hundreds of resumes a day. I place candidates into three buckets.

The first bucket is a “Yes,” the second is a “No,” and the third is a “Maybe.”

The “Maybe” bucket is dangerous. We read the resume. We re-read the resume.  Sometimes we read the resume three or four times. We then talk ourselves out of making a hire because of a plethora of reasons  Sometimes they get in a pile and we never revisit them again because we have forgotten about them.

Some of the reasons we don’t go through with the “maybe” pile are because:

We feel they are overqualified. We quickly dismiss someone because they have “too much experience.” What is funny about this one is we quite honestly don’t know what is going on in their lives. They may be looking to take a step back and they could be miserable in their role. What is the worst thing that could happen?A referral? Pick up the phone!

We feel they don’t have enough experience. In a recruiting world where there are more openings than there is available “qualified” talent, why don’t we do more selling to the hiring manager? Culture is everything in today. We have to think outside of the box!  In the above scenario, the person hired didn’t have all of the skills, but fit with the organization well.

Article Continues Below

We feel like they are “job hoppers.” There is always a reason for someone making a job change. Sometimes people have a run of bad luck. A company could lose funding and do layoffs. A person may have to urgently relocate. The list goes on and on, but you need to hear their story before assessing if they are a job hopper. They might be moving to gain more skills. That may help their resume and not hurt it.

They worked at a certain company that isn’t admirable. So people make mistakes. People join organizations that aren’t great. Sometimes they get comfortable in a role and aren’t willing to make a change. Just because they worked somewhere does not mean they may not be a good fit for your role. Get their story.

I’m sure you can think of other reasons why you have passed on candidates. This year is so competitive that we are going to have to go back through the “maybe” pile more than once.  We are really going to have to screen, ask tough questions, and sell our candidates because the “maybe” candidates are going to start getting more and more jobs.

I would love to hear your story. What candidates have you over-screened or put in the maybe pile? Has it cost you a hire too?

Will Thomson is the Founder & President of Bulls Eye Recruiting, LLC which is headquartered in Austin, Texas. His organization recruits Sr. Sales, Marketing, and HR talent around the United States.  Will's 23 year recruiting career includes working for recruiting agencies such as Aerotek and also working as a corporate recruiter at Dell, eBay and Rosetta Stone.  Bulls Eye Recruiting was formed in 2012 as a blog which morphed into a recruiting agency in 2014.  His company works on both a retained and contingent search model for finding the best talent available in the marketplace.