Why The Most Qualified Person Isn’t Always The Best Hire

credentialsYour company has a vacancy so you make a good job description and list all the experience and expertise that the ideal candidate should have. When you start the interviewing process you are focused on finding that ideal candidate, the one that complies with all your requirements, the one that is the most qualified.

It might sound relatively simple, you just hire the person that fits the job description best and that´s it. The most qualified candidate will be your best choice for the position right?

However, what if we told you that isn´t always the case? What if we told you that the most qualified person sometimes might actually be a hiring mistake? That probably sounds counterintuitive, after all, the most qualified person has the best credentials and on paper is perfect for the job. But that´s exactly where the issue might be, “on paper. Because let´s face it, the job is not on paper, the job is within a team, which is within a department, which is within a company where that person actually should fit in as well.

And that is where the problem may lie when you are only hiring for qualifications. Because although the candidate might have the best credentials, if he or she doesn´t fit in well with the company culture, is a bad team player, or doesn´t share the company values and ways of working, it might actually not work out at all.

So what are possible reasons for not choosing the most qualified candidate?

  • Company research

What if the candidate doesn´t have much of an understanding of what your company does? And doesn´t seem to interested in it either? Despite an excellent resume, someone with much less experience but with a passion for what you are doing will most definitely be able to bring much more value.

  • Company values

What if the candidate doesn´t share any of your company values and / or ways of working? No matter how qualified they are, this person will most likely be a problematic addition to your team. No amount of experience can value up against being horrible to collaborate with or against completely different values (which he or she will probably transmit to co-workers, or, worse, clients!).

  • Attitude

What if the candidate can´t stop complaining during their interview about their previous boss or previous job? A positive, upbeat attitude is probably worth a bit more than all the perfect credentials. Or what if the candidate has a “weird” attitude (e.g. referring to him- or herself in the third person for example), are you sure that is the best addition to your team?

  • Unrealistic salary expectations

Does the candidate have salary expectations that are completely out of line with what you can realistically offer? Then you might want to consider hiring someone with a little less experience but who falls within your reach because even if by making an effort you could somewhat match the most qualified candidate´s salary expectation, you are jeopardising your compensation policies and this might have negative impacts on the long term.

  • Revealing social media presence

No matter how qualified the candidate is by judging his or her resume and presence in the interview, never ever forget to do a bit of research yourself online. You would be surprised of what other side you might find of your favorite candidate. Even if they have the best credentials and did a great interview, if you find material on social media that you don´t agree with or that you think could harm your business, then you have your decision right there. Just don´t risk it.

What other reasons have you experienced when deciding to not hire the most qualified candidate?


Photo credit: the Italian voice via Visual Hunt / CC BY

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