Accepting Imperfect Candidates During The Interview Process

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Nobody is perfect. So why hold your breath waiting for a flawless candidate to walk through your doors? Let’s face it, if you only hired perfect candidates, your office would be pretty much empty. Instead, it’s important to keep in mind that your business or organization serves as more than just a workplace; it also serves as a place to learn and grow for your employees. Granted, it is nice to find candidates who seem perfect; high skill proficiency, great communication skills, team player, and the like. However, it’s more realistic to accept imperfect candidates, and guide them in their development in becoming perfect (or, as close as humanly possible).

What’s more important than being perfect is being willing to learn. A quality candidate will own up to what they don’t know, and do everything possible to learn from the experience. In the words of Albert Einstein: “wisdom is not a product of schooling, but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” So, even if an employee isn’t quite perfect, as long as they show a real desire to learn, consider adding them to your team.

A willingness to learn will manifest itself within the responses a candidate offers during the interview process. This is especially true if you ask the right questions. To determine whether or not a candidate is willing to learn, ask them openly about their learning experience in past positions. If they come across as proactive, genuine, and enthusiastic, they’re likely an ideal candidate. If they seem defensive, arrogant, hesitant, or maybe even false in their answer, they may not be the best option for your company or organization. 

A strong willingness to learn is also a steppingstone to the next best thing to look for instead of perfection: hidden potential. Certain skills won’t necessarily be apparent within resumes or preliminary interviews. A candidate or employee may possess untapped skills that you can help develop. This goes back to the previous point that a workplace also serves as an opportunity for employees to evolve their skills. By being open to imperfect candidates and providing a beneficial work environment for them, you may just end up with some fantastic employees.

To guide your employees towards their peak potential, it’s important to offer constructive feedback. If there are certain areas that need improvement, don’t be afraid to help them get there. Remain kind and respectful, but don’t hold back, either; a quality employee is open to constructive criticism. Be more than just a boss! Be a mentor for your people too. In the job interview, it is key to touch on the topic of feedback to get an idea of how they handle receiving feedback. 

Remember, nobody is perfect. But, when it comes to finding quality employees, potential is greater than perfection. In an ideal world, every employee seeking a position at your company or organization would be perfect. Yet, this world isn’t always ideal. The best course of action is to accept imperfect candidates and guide them to reach their fullest potential. 


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