Evaluating potential key talent for client companies is always interesting. And unfortunately, in many cases, you simply “can’t fix stupid.” But if a candidate lacks some required skills, can you hire them anyway? Sure, it’s your company. However, you should be advised to make certain the following three conditions exist.

The Candidate Really Is Who They Say They Are
It’s not uncommon for people to apply for a position they know little about and  for which they are completely unqualified. They’ll try to convince you they can do the job, and in some cases, they’re even believable.  Be careful you don’t allow people to get “too” convincing or get a little too loose with the truth regarding their qualifications and past performance.  Protect yourself and your business by ensuring you check, re-check and check again all their qualifications. Behavioral-style interviewing comes in handy here.  It’s a smart strategy and there’s no excuse for not being thorough.

Performance Is Stellar
Remember, you’re already taking a chance on qualifications; don’t compound that effort by stretching on ability as well. Only candidates who are at the top of their field in their known responsibilities should be considered for stretch roles. Mediocre applicants do not fill the bill and it’s best to wish them well in their job search.

You Simply Can’t Fix Stupid…Or Lazy
No one likes the idea of hiring less than adequate employees. After all, isn’t the whole idea behind hiring new talent to improve upon current conditions? Make sure the candidate you’re evaluating is smart enough to learn new skills, particularly the challenging kind you’ve been unable to fill. Look for indicators that they can acquire skills as they go. Gauge their general desire to work when interviewing and investigating their background. It’s challenging enough to develop new skills with a new employee; you don’t want to be further hamstrung with a known slug.

The war for top talent is as active as ever. The high unemployment data does not, of course, translate directly to better available job-seekers. As it becomes more and more difficult to discover that “perfect” candidate, we’ll be making adjustments and trade-offs on a regular basis. Better to know what you’re getting into, and how to mitigate the potential downsides, than to be blindsided down the road.


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