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The MHC Blog

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In pursuit of perfection

Companies looking to fill their vacancies will already know this, currently there are a lot of potential candidates looking for a new role, it’s an Employers “buyers’ market!”

Given the luxury of a large pile of CVs arriving for each vacancy posted, I have recently noticed that Companies are becoming increasingly fussy, looking for a 150% fit to an advertised role, rejecting candidates because they don’t tick all the boxes of the job description. 

They seem happy to delay filing a role, leaving it vacant (probably doing the role themselves) until they have found the ideal candidate, taking the risk that not filling the role with the perfect employee is better than having someone in place that can do most of the tasks but needs your time and effort to settle them in.

Part of me completely understands this thought process.  In an ideal world, having someone join the Company with their running shoes on allowing them to hit the ground sprinting is utopia - however the reality does come with many challenges, perfection is hard, if not impossible, to find, meaning that the role could stay vacant delaying your Company growth while you work yourself into the ground doing 2 or 3 roles yourself.

So how do you fill key roles in todays market?  Here are a few ideas and observations:

  1. You should hire to Company culture fit and train on skills. Regardless of the size of your Company, finding someone that fits your culture is your number one goal. They need to be able to work within your culture to help it grow and develop.  You never know how much an employee will be developing, growing and changing over time - they could be in a completely different role by next year, whilst helping to maintain the Company culture during its business grow.

    The book "Tribal Leadership" by David Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright emphasizes the importance of workplace culture and how it can contribute to a more successful workplace. The authors found that Companies that stress cultural fit find that, within their workforce, fear and stress go down as the “interpersonal friction” of working together decreases.  People seek employment in the Company and stay, taking the company a long way toward winning the war for talent and most exciting is that “employees report feeling more alive and having more fun" in such a workplace.

    It can be very short-sighted to reject a candidate if they do not yet possess all the right work experiences to take on the role immediately without any help and training if they fit into your Company culture.  It may be the right decision to invest time and training in the ideal cultural fit candidate, you will have a long-term employee who will help grow and develop your culture and Company further.


  1. If the candidate does come to you with all the right skills and experiences you require, you still need to spend time with them to explain the processes you have in place in your Company. The dream you may have that they arrive 9am on day one and take over the role without any handover or “drain” on your time is a nonstarter, especially if you want to retain them beyond the first month. 

    You need to spend time with them in their first weeks, handing over the duties and your requirements to them complete to your set standards.  You should have a formal probationary review process in place that gives opportunity for the employee and their Line Manager to discuss the performance seen to date and deal with any issues that arise.

    New starters should also attend a professional onboarding session to help them understand the background and history of the Company as well as the ways of working required from them.  All these points help the employee quickly feel settled in a new Company.


  1. Employing someone with the exact skills and experiences you are looking for can be a double-edged sword. Candidates are often looking for personal development that they have not been able to obtain in their current Company - if you cannot provide this for them quickly after they join you, then they are likely to start looking for a new job straight away leaving you back to recruiting to fill the role again. 


In order to get the ideal candidate to join your team you need to be able to explain the benefits of joining your Company and the long term career progression plans you can provide them – it may feel like a “Company buyers’ market” at the moment, but the A-Player candidates are unlikely to be currently unemployed and need to understand exactly what they will be getting by joining your Company.  If you cannot sell the vision or live up to the vision, then you will struggle to find the A player superstar you are looking for.

The pool of good talent is shrinking, recruitment is getting tougher all the time.  A-Player candidates are likely to be risk averse now, they are likely to feel better off staying where they are than take the risk to move to an unknown (to them) Company or to a role that will not give them the stretch in their development they crave.  To recruit in this business environment, you need to think outside the box a little bit and look for the potential in candidates.

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Claire Donnelly

Written by Claire Donnelly

A Business Growth and HR Strategist helping medium size companies to Scale Up using proven systems. Claire is an MCIPD qualified Human Resource professional, with 25+ years’ experience working within various industries and 10 + years’ experience of HR practices throughout the Middle East. As a HR Generalist she has held a number of senior and Board level HR positions. She is experienced in working at both strategic and tactical levels.

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