More often than not, you will not know the extent of a candidate’s potential until they have been in the position for a few weeks or months. At the same time, you also know that there is not one single measure of success for every open position. By keeping the following tips in mind, you can find the individuals best suited for the job, that you might have otherwise passed over. 

Prioritize Experience Over Education 

When you have a ton of applications coming in, it can be tempting to narrow down your candidate pool based on easily quantifiable factors such as degree or number of years in the industry. But if you really want to find hidden gems, you should be looking for other areas that can demonstrate potential. For example, someone might have gone to school for something different but relevant to the position, which could offer them a unique perspective and insight. Others may not have received a degree, but can bring plenty of real-life experience to the table. 

Switch Up the Standard Interview Process 

One of the best ways to evaluate a potential candidate and uncover talent is to veer away from the typical interview format. As discussed above, experience can be far more valuable than formal education. It is also important to remember that some people may not be great interviewees, which has no bearing on their potential competence regarding the position. Try incorporating “homework assignments” or tasks that can better display a candidate’s thinking and expertise. This will also give you a better sense of what they would actively contribute to the role. 

Ask Star Employees for Referrals 

When it comes to filling an open position, you should make sure that you are taking advantage of your most valuable resources: your current employees. There are probably a few star employees that you would love to duplicate if you could. Try asking these individuals if they know anyone that they think would be a good fit for the position or company – these are hidden gems who may not be actively looking for a new opportunity, but who would entertain the right offer. And keep in mind that referrals can come at any time, not just when you need to fill a vacancy. Let your employees know that you are always open to recommendations and proactively start conversations.

Take Chances and Be Open to Opportunity

There are many candidates that look great on paper and nail the formal interview process, but this does not necessarily mean that they are the best fit for your company or position. By having a stringent list of “need to haves,” you could overlook a great candidate. You should prioritize future potential over past experience. If possible, consider hiring someone on a trial basis so that both parties can determine if it is a good fit. 


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