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Is It Wise to Drop a Candidate Who Ticks 9 out of 10 Boxes?

Most organizations strive hard to find a candidate that checks all the boxes to fill a vacancy. While finding THE PERFECT CANDIDATE may seem ideal, it is a dream that in most cases will take a very long time to realize. Not that shooting for perfection is a bad idea, just that when perfection in itself becomes an obsession, one may lose sight of the bigger picture.

Many of us go through a similar experience when trying to fill key roles in our organizations. We diligently interview and evaluate candidates, only to reject ones that perform well in all but one or two parameters. Organizations are willing to play the waiting game and fill the vacancy in due course of time. There are vacancies that remain unfulfilled for 6-9 months, sometimes even a year. The question that we need to be asking ourselves is how much do these missed opportunities and the resultant delay end up costing an organization. Organizations must keep in mind the “opportunity cost” whilst rejecting a near fit candidate for perfection.

Opportunity cost

Opportunity cost is nothing but the forgone benefit that would have been derived from an option not chosen. It is the value of the next best alternative that you give up when making a decision.  Considering the value of an opportunity cost can guide organisations to more profitable decision making.

Delays in filling a vacancy can result in missing deadlines of a project, delays in product release, strain on finances owing to interest rates, loss of revenue and in extreme cases, even business with a client. The time taken to interview candidates is often taken for granted. In hindsight, the cost of the time spent trying to find the unicorn candidate is rather significant. The value that an organization would have gained had they hired the candidate that was a 90% match, a lot earlier in time needs to be pondered upon.

A lot of skills today are trainable. Should a potential candidate lack in few aspects, it may not take more than few months to bring them up to speed. The next time we find ourselves having to pass on a candidate that’s a close fit, we should account for the opportunity cost and make a decision that is bordering less on the obsessive and more on the practical.

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