The importance of being open minded and flexible within the hiring process – how the ‘imperfect’ candidate could benefit your business in the long run.

As much as we wish they would, it is unlikely that the perfect candidate who ticks all the boxes is going to apply for your open vacancy. It is much more likely that applicants will have some of the desired skills, and a mix of experience and skills that you were not explicitly looking for. This is where the importance of being open minded and flexible comes into play.

Our Peoplebank team are currently working on a project sourcing a range of technology candidates, but specifically looking for Level 1 Linux and Network Engineers. Typically, these candidates are incredibly hard to find, with LinkedIn Talent Insights showing less than 1000 candidates in New Zealand with Linux Engineer or Network Engineer as their current job title*. Still, we went to market, hunting for these hard-to-find candidates.

Fast-forward, and as the candidates applying and being found for these incredibly hard-to-fill roles were very enthusiastic to work with our client, they fell just short of the experience needed for a Level 1 Network or Linux Engineer role.

This was the point where, as a hiring manager, it was important to consider all options, and especially be mindful of the need for speed in the recruitment process. After screening and putting the candidates who had applied through a round of interviews, the client found that although they didn’t meet the exact criteria to fit a Level 1 Network or Linux role, they were enthusiastic, hardworking, and ready to learn. All key attributes of a great employee.

Not willing to say no to potentially great employees, this led to a conversation between the Peoplebank team and our client, and to the setup of a one-year fixed-term ‘Graduate Programme’ where candidates who fall short of the necessary experience to meet a Level 1 Engineer role have the opportunity to join the company, working alongside the existing engineers, and learn the necessary skills required to then graduate to be a Level 1 Engineer by the end of the 12-month programme. This programme allowed candidates to be supported and upskill, with the anticipation of a promotion, but also gave our client a talent pool that was ready to go, trained and experienced with the ins and outs of their own business at the end of 12 months. With 41% of ICT candidates looking for roles that ‘must have’ on-the-job skill development or coaching**, this is a fantastic solution to a skills-short tech industry issue. The definition of a win-win scenario for both candidates and client.

Just by being a little open minded, flexible, and willing to adapt to the current market conditions, our client has now hired three candidates into the Graduate Programme, with the potential of more to come.

* Linkedin Talent Insights report generated internally searching for Linux and Network Engineers located in New Zealand

** Seek Laws of Attraction data – ICT Candidates