When it comes to hiring, there are those times when all the stars align and that single, perfect candidate pops out as the obvious and only choice. However, often, the stars align multiple ways and you are left with several great candidates that are great for different reasons.
After careful and objective evaluation, you are left with a hard choice – the candidate that is strongest at the job, the candidate with the best potential, the candidate that has the most perfect culture fit, or some combination thereof.
How can you compare such different and important strengths of current abilities, future potential, and cultural/organization alignment? All are important, all are necessary, and all have their pros and cons.
When there is no obvious choice for the strongest candidate for a job or team, turn to the needs of the organization.
The Organization needs…
What is the greater need, expense, situation of the organization? And what combination of strengths will best align to those needs?
… okay, asking that question is far easier than answering it. But the better you can answer it, the easier it will be to select the best candidate for the organization.
Here are a few examples to help illustrate the range of answers.
The impossible job to fill
Does your organization have a particular job that’s really hard or expensive to fill? Is it causing challenges to accomplishing key goals or staying within budget, or having other measurable impact?
If this is the case, find related jobs that are easier to fill and have career paths to the harder to fill position. Then, prioritize future potential that align towards those harder, more expensive positions. In other words, hire for potential to cultivate the talent that is hard to get.
The leaking talent problem
Does your organization have retention problems in a group or discipline? Is employee satisfaction low and productivity sluggish?
If this is the case, for the impacted teams prioritize culture fit and a strength in current ability. Also, why prioritize potential if you’re struggling just to hold onto the now?
The upcoming M&A scramble
Is your organization about to go through or in the middle of merger activity? Are massive shifts happening that effect the day to day, the culture, the identity of the organization?
Similarly, is your organization going through a fundamental shift in business, operations, mission or other upheaval?
If this is the case, prioritize flexible evolutionary potential (i.e. the ability to evolve with the changing needs of the job) and deprioritize culture fit, especially as the future culture is unclear.
The culture shift initiative
Has your organization taken on an initiative to shift the culture such as become more inclusive, reactive, virtual, etc.? Are the cultural habits being uprooted and replaced? Is the organization going through an internal or external rebranding?
If this is the case, prioritize culture fit to the future culture to help the organization through the change.
My organization needs…
“The One” – that great candidate among great candidates is the one that both meets the needs of the team and role and serves as an added value to the organization. So, what is it that your organization needs? What initiatives or efforts are a priority? What revenue can be optimized, or costs can be reduced? What storms can be better weathered?