The Best Candidates are the Qualified Ones!

Now this statement seems pretty self-explanatory right?  Obviously with every recruitment marketing campaign you run, you want qualified candidates above all else.  But the real question is how are you measuring which candidates are qualified and which are not.


There are a few levels of qualified candidates that should be pretty easy to track and measure:


Meets Qualifications: These candidates have the necessary experience and skills needed for the position.  This can be tracked by your recruiting team as they are filtering through resumes.


Interviews: These are candidates that have meet qualifications and are compelling enough to think that they might be the right fit for not only the position but for your company.  This data should be available in your ATS.


Final Interviews: These are the candidates that are were the cream of the crop for the position and would have been hired if there wasn’t someone else that fit the position just a little bit better.  These candidates have great value for when a similar position opens up at your company so keep them close.  This data should also be available in your ATS.


Offers: This is one I missed the first time around but it was brought to my attention that it was a glaring oversight.  Offers is a great metric to keep around to make sure that you are attracting and meeting the expectations of the jobs you are filling.  If you are offering a lot of candidates and not receiving hires, you may need to do a better job of identifying proper fit with candidates early on in the recruiting process (Why should you go through the whole process only to realize you are not compatible in terms of salary or benefits.)



Hires: The most qualified should be the ones you hire right?  This is the best barometer of recruiting success.


For all these levels, make sure to collect and analyze your recruitment metrics and track the source for all these candidates whether it was a job board, social network, SEO, referral or another recruiting campaign.  Continuously look at how these recruiting channels are performing so you are not wasting money on channels that don’t bring you the candidates you want: THE QUALIFIED ONES!


Ask your job distribution and ATS vendor how you can most accurately track these candidates so you can begin to understand which recruiting channels are the best for your organization!

Views: 144

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on July 6, 2011 at 3:59pm

you forgot a part - The Best Candidates are the Qualified Ones Who Will Accept Your Offer!  :)  I can find all kinds of qualified people, but can I afford them?

Comment by Chris Brablc on July 6, 2011 at 9:32pm
Great point, Amy!  I've added a section to the blog article addressing that.  You definitely need to keep track of offers made vs. actual hires!
Comment by Valentino Martinez on July 7, 2011 at 4:07am


Your selection criteria for arriving at the best “qualified” candidates to choose from makes sense, and it’s fairly standard—but the  illusion of actually getting the best candidates has to be factored in, in the analysis you rightly suggest.


Most recruiters actually run into outstanding candidates, and some are lucky enough to get a few hired—but more will admit, to Amy’s point, that most are unaffordable for the job and/or the employer in question.  So they pass for money and other reasons, and what you end up with is actually less than the best.  WHAT YOU END UP WITH IS THE BEST AVAILABLE CANDIDATE.

And it’s not only money that will limit access to many an outstanding candidate—the job, the employer, the geography may be a turn-off to great candidates.  The timing may also be off because many top candidates may be at a decision point with other offers in-hand; or they may have kids in school; are working on key projects; or are simply too busy to even consider leaving a great job and employer.  So you end up with good candidates, but not necessarily the best candidates.

In my view, when an employer automatically limits a candidate search to the local area only—it tells me that they’re confident the ideal candidate may reside locally.  It also tells me as a recruiter that they’re willing to sacrifice top quality talent for cost savings in relocation costs.  While you may luck out and find great local talent—the problem with shrinking the talent pool of candidates to just the local market, depending on some disciplines, often waters down the percentage of available candidates—making it that much more difficult to identify and attract the few that exist nearby.    

So, when the dust settles, what an employer may end up with are qualified,  local, affordable and interested candidates—who will accept a job offer.  And these candidates may be 1-2 levels removed from the best candidates out there.  Sharing that information with hiring management may be an eye-opener and provide the impetus for them to re-evaluate what will be the best recruiting approaches for meeting their staffing challenges.

Comment by Paul Alfred on July 7, 2011 at 9:18am

Great points Chris .... There is one however that continues to evades us and  hard to measure ... I always tell candidates going out for interviews ... I can have 10 qualified PM's that all know a J2EE Framework ( as an example) in then end when the interview is over and you shake hands - discussions take place between HR and Hiring Manager ...:  Its not going to be Jane I really love this guys development life cycle experience with this framework ... No, instead it's going to be: Jane I really like him I hope he likes us - he  fits in with our team perfectly.  Then jane from HR says really I did see a fit Bob my recommendation may not favor hiring him or her...   How many recruiters experience this simple little personality evaluation clash that kills a deal every -time 


The personality measurement between human beings is the piece that comes back to bite us in the you know where .... Give me an ATS that can measure that well and quantify it as a measurable unit like a Personalty factor and I will buy truckloads of stock in that ATS company.... 

Comment by Chris Brablc on July 7, 2011 at 1:13pm

Hi Valentino, I appreciate the comment!  As you recognized, the purpose of this post was to stress the importance of qualifying and in turn measuring the different levels of qualification in your recruiting process (and most importantly tie-ing it back to the source the candidate came in through.)  I agree that it simplifies the process a good deal but I thought it was important.


Also, I definitely agree that best candidate may not be the one you ultimately hire for all the reasons you stated above.  However, I would say "best" candidate encompasses a variety of factors such as location, pay scale, fit with the organization, fit with the hiring manager and a number of other factors.  It's definitely important to look at individual positions and look at how well you performed in terms of getting the candidate that you felt was best for the position.  I also think it's worthwhile to collect aggregate data and get a feel of how well you are doing in getting candidates that may not be the best but are qualified for the position, to identify trends across all the jobs you fill.


Great comment!

Comment by Patrick Brown on July 7, 2011 at 1:31pm

All great points but the best way to understand how to get the best candidates is to know what they are looking for and how they look for jobs.  Tools like pre-on boarding surveys will give organizations great insights into what the candidate really thinks about an organizations opportunity, benefits, pay and the why's behind their decisions to apply or not apply to a job.  Information like this right from your target candidate is invaluable.  Think about it what if you were able to create the perfect employment brand message to your ideal candidate and know what it would take for them to except your offer.  How would that make your job easier and how would your hiring mangers react?


A recant Harvard study showed that roughly 70% of candidates will except a lower salary for a company with a strong Employment Brand.  So I believe it’s more about understanding your target candidates “wants” versus just guessing what resource provides the best candidates.

Comment by Chris Brablc on July 7, 2011 at 1:43pm

Paul, great comment!  If an ATS could do that, they would make a lot of money!  Personality fit with the hiring manager is definitely one of most important aspects of hiring and one of the hardest to measure.  I think the best you can do is to identify the characteristics, skills and personality traits that fit your organization and the hiring managers you have in your company and attentively recruit and test these traits in the recruiting / interview process.  Whether it's the tone of your job ad, looking at employees at companies that are a similar cultural fit as yours or putting candidates into different situations in the interview process, finding ways to test cultural fit and fit with managers will help greatly in the long run.  It is far from easy but if you can get it right at least 1/4 of the time, you'll make a great impact.


Thanks for the great comment!

Comment by Patrick Brown on July 7, 2011 at 1:48pm

You can test these traits through personality assessments.  Give assessments to your top 25% of your company to establish a benchmark and give the same assessments to your top candidates.  Companies are doing this more and more now a days, especially because there is little room for more overhead and turnover cost.

Comment by Chris Brablc on July 7, 2011 at 2:00pm

Morgan - I appreciate the comment and definitely agree with you that qualified has to factor in the likelihood that the candidate would accept the offer.  I also agree on the "passive" candidates point as well.


"Best" and "Qualified" is definitely going to differ for every organization and every position hired for.  The most "qualified" or the "best" candidate won't always be the one hired but every organization needs to strive to make sure they are hiring candidates that are "qualified" for the position and a fit for the company (whether they are the best candidate or the 5th best candidate). 


And most importantly measuring how these "qualified" candidates are hearing about your positions.  Whether it's sourcing, job boards, social networks, referrals, Google, etc.  Where are you getting the most qualified candidates from and how much of your budget are you spending on these sources?  If you are using major job board and are getting 5 qualified candidates back and are using a job search engine and getting 20, you need to track and be able to take advantage of that knowledge (as you are probably spending a lot more money on that job board as well.)


Once you determine what qualified means (and it may differ by job) measure it and then look at the trends so you can make impactful decisions on where to use your recruiting budget.


I appreciate the comment!


Comment by Valentino Martinez on July 7, 2011 at 2:09pm

Thanks Chris.  Your blog post touches on a controversial subject with so many upsides and downsides relative to defining what is “best”, for an employer, in arriving at what makes a candidate the best for their needs, and then trying to land that candidate, who by the way, also has to make a “best” decision relative to their career ambitions.  The complexity then evolves into what is the “best”—as in there are companies who will only recruit from their list of key colleges.  There are hiring managers who will not consider candidates without a “blue-chip” degree from a “ranked” school in a key discipline.  As recruiters we get these “preferences” first hand.  Some we agree with and some we challenge. 

Now, Paul brings yet another important outcome to the ultimate selection process outcome which I like to call the "Sucker Punch" effect on the hiring decision.  And Paul, it's even more painful when you’re in the room where candidates are being discussed by the interview panel when someone torpedoes an excellent candidate with a lame observation that is enough to poison the water that was flowing to a decision to hire a candidate (my candidate).  Sometimes they are salvageable, but sometimes they’re not--I hate when that happens.


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