Being Open Minded About Who You Interview

Let me be clear from the outset – there is a balance to be struck here.

However, in my twenty years of recruitment experience, the tendency is for hiring managers not to see candidates they have any doubts about based on their CV rather than meet them to investigate further.

Those doubts typically come in one of the following forms:

  • Not enough perceived experience at a given level

  • Regular changes of employer

  • Some time spent outside of the specific industry sector

Sometimes these concerns are well founded and the candidates are unsuitable. However, meeting them is rarely a waste of time.

Meeting ‘borderline’ candidates can provide a good benchmark to other interviewees. It helps a hiring manager to do their due diligence on the candidate marketplace and feel comfortable that they have explored other potential employees. This, in turn, gives more confidence to go ahead and hire their favoured candidate.

But don’t assume that we are just talking about stalking horses. Sometimes, a great candidate is hidden behind a disjointed work history. Or perhaps they have had far greater responsibility than their job title suggests. There are certainly plenty of examples of my clients being reluctant to even interview a candidate only for them to be hugely impressed and recruit that person.

If you still don’t feel comfortable about formally interviewing a borderline candidate lower the stakes. Arrange to meet them off-site for a coffee. Or arrange a phone interview. A 30-minute chat will be more than sufficient to determine if someone is suitable to bring in to a more structured interview process.

I am not suggesting that you should interview anyone and everyone. Your time is valuable. Just be wary of dismissing someone with potential based on a single concern arising from the CV.