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Do You Hire the Under-Qualified Candidate Who Is Extremely Motivated?

With ongoing low unemployment rates, your organization may be having trouble filling open spots. So, what should you do with an under-qualified candidate who is exceptionally motivated? Should you hire, or should you pass? The correct answer depends on the applicant as well as your company’s needs. Here’s a quick overview. 

When TO Hire an Under-Qualified Candidate

  • When You Realize Your Expectations Are Too High
    Sometimes, businesses become overzealous when writing job descriptions. This can lead to a situation where only a handful of qualified applicants even exist. If you find yourself in this predicament, hiring expert Scott Wintrip recommends creating a Hire-Right Profile with Required vs. Desired skills. For example, you may desire a CNC operator with five years of experience but require someone with proper training. This system can help you to identify less qualified but not necessarily unqualified candidates.
  • When the Candidate Has Track Record of Success
    Since this candidate is not an exact fit, you want someone ready to tackle a challenge. This should be a person who pushes the limits, solves problems, and overcomes setbacks. Behavioral interview questions about working under pressure, making mistakes, and dealing with difficult colleagues can provide insight into their resilience 
  • When the Candidate Seems Like a Good Culture Fit
    Herb Kelleher, the co-founder of Southwest Airlines, once famously stated, “You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills.” Although your candidate may not have 100% of the technical skills required, evaluate their soft skills too. In the end, the right person should be able to learn what they need to know. 

When NOT to Hire an Under-Qualified Candidate

  • When the Candidate Lacks Essential Skills
    John DiLulloCEO of Lastlinebelieves hiring under-qualified candidates can yield great results. However, he advises businesses to look for someone who is at least 70% qualified. He writes, “if someone were only 30% qualified for a particular role, or even 50%, the job would probably be too hard.” 
  • When the Candidate Appears to Be Motivated by Desperation 
    There is a difference between a candidate who is interested in taking on a challenge, and a candidate is anxious to land any job. The second type of applicant may very motivated but for the wrong reasons. You want someone who can rise to the occasion rather than someone who is willing to accept a poor fit to collect a paycheck.   
  • When the Candidate Is Overly Confident
    To succeed, the under-qualified candidate needs a degree of humility. After all, they are going to have to admit what they don’t know, ask for advice, and seek out feedback. Of course, you’ll need someone who can confidently handle a challenge, but you don’t want someone who would brag, “This job looks easyI can figure it on my own. No problem.”  

Is Your Organization Struggling to Find Qualified Candidates?

The professional recruiters at Halpin Staffing Services can help you fill open positions with an efficient, customer-focused approach. We work with companies throughout Southeastern Wisconsin and Northeastern, Illinois. Learn more about the advantages of partnering with us today! 



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