Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Qualifying Qualifications: What Really Matters in a Candidate

Running a small business requires getting the most out of every candidate. There’s no room for error when hiring a candidate who will fulfill multiple roles and perform a variety of functions. As such, identifying exactly what you’re looking for in a candidate before completing the hiring process can be vital to making the right decision. But focusing solely on a predetermined set of qualifications may actually stunt your hiring search, preventing you from finding the best, most well-rounded candidate for your open position.

As an example, an article from Britain’s HR magazine discusses a school which hired an “under-qualified” candidate, despite the teachers’ years of experience in other high-level related positions. The candidate was hired as the head teacher at a primary school–a job for which she was technically under-qualified. She’d had experience teaching while at a think tank, but hadn’t yet gotten her PGCE, a qualification for the position. Her hiring sparked some outrage because of her failure to obtain her PGCE prior to hiring. The article, though, presents reasons why certain quantifiable qualifications may not always paint the best picture of a potential candidate.

The article finds that hiring candidates based solely on listed, predefined qualifications, and not taking into account other experience, can hurt businesses looking to hire candidates. There are a number of immeasurable traits which make candidates the perfect fit for your small business. Leadership skills, resilience, experience, and how well a candidate handles pressure situations are all equally important in the hiring process. Small businesses, many of whom need more utility players, should be especially cognizant of hiring the most well-rounded candidate, not just the most qualified one.

Small businesses face even tougher decisions when it comes to hiring new job candidates and a wrong hire can be far more detrimental than for their bigger counterpart; that’s why figuring out what is important in a candidate, outside of just a certain set of qualifications, is crucial to your hiring process.

Is your small business hiring? Let us know in the comments what intangibles you look for in a candidate outside of just a defined set of qualifications.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by jonny2love

Jen Schiller

Jen works as a Marketing Project Manager for a restaurant, a kitchen assistant for cooking classes, helps with database management, does some freelance writing, and more. She received her B.A. from the University of Maryland in Government & Politics in 2011. Currently, she resides in the Washington, D.C. area and is an avid sports fan.

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