As I was reading about recruiting trends I came across an interesting article from popular recruiting blog, the title – “Who’s to Blame for the Perfect Fit Syndrome?”The article addresses the ideal of the perfect candidate; it argues that the perfect candidate does not exist. Now this got me thinking as we use the term ‘perfect’ all the time around here: referring to the perfect candidate, the perfect new hire, the perfect person to fill your needs. So what is the definition of ‘perfect’ and can it exist for employment purposes?

The Definition:       

If you ask Merriam-Webster the term ‘perfect’ can actually be interpreted in three ways:

  1. Having no mistakes or flaws
  2. Completely correct or accurate
  3. Having all the qualities you want in a kind of person or situation.

Which definition best fits employment purposes? ERE is focusing on option 3, no candidate could possibly possess every quality listed in a job description… can they?

Is the Perfect Hire Fact or Fiction?

According to ere’s, Ira Wolfe, its fiction, in fact it’s not just fiction – it’s a syndrome. Those who think they can find the perfect candidate are setting the bar too high and setting themselves up for failure. “Setting a high bar for hiring is the right thing to do. But the height of the bar has to be realistic.” The idea is that employers need to find the best of the bunch and settle for that, if they don’t they won’t hire anyone.

We however, have a different opinion. We believe in the perfect candidate.  Don’t get me wrong the ‘perfect candidate syndrome’ has some merit but as stated in the very article it’s all about the standards you set. And we believe with the correct standards and view point that perfect is achievable.

For example at Active Screening our definition of ‘perfect’ is actually a mixture of all three dictionary definitions. By screening a background we can find the person with little to no mistakes. By checking references and credentials we can find the person with a correct or accurate resume. Finally by using a comprehensive check we find the candidate who possesses all the necessary qualities our clients look for in a candidate. When you combine it all together you have a perfect candidate by our standards and the dictionary standards.

What Does This Mean for Employers?

By finding the perfect candidate through background screening, employers are then prepared to find the right candidate for the position. This is where Wolfe’s theory comes into play; at this point, hiring standards must be realistic in order to find the perfect candidate. Employers must also remember hiring is just the starting point, if the candidate isn’t available from the beginning then find a promising applicant and develop them into the employee you’d like to see. Perfect is achievable – the perfect candidate, the perfect hire, the perfect environment.

I am going to close this post by actually agreeing with Wolfe; the underlying message of his article is that employers must take responsibility for creating the culture they want. Employers – you must take necessary measures to create your ideal or ‘perfect’ team.  Once you do that the term ‘perfect’ will always be a part of your vocabulary.

For more information and advice about finding the perfect candidate check out this article written a few weeks back, 6 Steps to Hiring the Perfect Candidate. What do you think about the term ‘perfect’, does it exist?  We would like to hear your opinion in the comments below.

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