Hiring: The Best of the Bad is Not a Strategy

I was listening to a podcast and the writer/actor being interviewed was asked about the process of writing for his movies, and how he captures those ideas. He mentioned a specific movie writing software program that he uses and the interviewer asked him why he used that particular program. The response went straight to how horrible the OTHER programs designed for movie writers are, but he couldn’t think of one thing to say about the program he chose, other than it was the best of the not great choices. Think about that for a second. He didn’t choose to work with this program because it met his needs. or he really liked the functionality of it. He chose this program because the other options were so bad.

I see employers, particularly small businesses, fall into this trap regularly when they rush through the recruiting process, and end up settling for the best of the pool of “not quite right” candidates they interviewed. These businesses don’t have a defined recruiting strategy or process, AND they feel like they can’t function without someone in that role. So they approach recruiting with desperation – no targeted approach and no time to find the right candidate. That approach will inevitably bring in underqualified and unfit candidates for both the role and the company culture. With that sense of urgency on the employers’ side, they end up choosing the candidate that they felt wasn’t as bad as the others. The best of the bad.

More times than not, hiring out of desperation ends in a separation of employment a lot quicker than a candidate chosen for their skills and merit. Not to mention the time that the employee is working can be filled with anxiety and poor performance, because it isn’t a good role for them, when they may otherwise be a top performer in the right role.

It is important for small business to take the time to define a recruiting strategy and keep an eye out for “right fit” candidates on an ongoing basis rather than when the need arises. So, always be hiring!


I’m sharing these tips from an online article that I thought accurately set up businesses for hiring success:

A small pool of candidates often leads to “settling” for one who may not be the best fit, but hiring candidates for a job opening is about more than just the quantity of applications you receive. The quality of the candidates who apply affects not only the success of your recruitment process, but the time, energy and money you spend on it too.

Here are 5 ways to enlarge your candidate pool and attract better applicants:

Create and Promote Your Brand
Brand building is not just a priority for products since the idea behind it is to be unique and memorable. Generic job postings and career pages are boring and will be passed over by the best applicants in favor of those that are clear, interesting and stand out from the rest.

An authentic and positive employer brand, reflected in its own career page and job descriptions on other channels, catches attention and promotes a positive image. Cultivating your employer brand and creating detailed, easy-to-understand job descriptions is the first step to attracting truly talented candidates.

Open Up More Recruitment Channels
Most companies use only a limited number of channels to promote openings, like their usual job boards and their own website. Today, there are dozens of options available to help organizations of any size spread awareness about open positions and draw more candidates. Consider your social media accounts and business partner sites, association websites, and networking groups.

Make the Process Applicant-Friendly
The candidate experience begins right from the application process, and this is the stage at which you will build (or lose) trust with potential employees. If the process of applying for a position is complicated, repetitive or time-consuming, the best candidates are unlikely to put up with it.

Pre-Screen to Filter Potential Candidates
Screening candidates can be very time- and resource-intensive, especially when you receive hundreds of applications for every open position. Based on required qualifications, experience, and skills, you may end up rejecting over half of the applications even before the interview stage!

Connect with Every “Special” Applicant
Whether you’re hiring them or not, it’s essential to connect with candidates who displayed potential, and remain transparent in your communications. This creates a positive impression and they may apply to your organization again, creating a “passive” candidate pool of talent.

Instead of a standard rejection letter or email, take the time to mention what you liked about them and where they fell short. Let them know you’d like to get back in touch with them when a suitable position opens up in the future, and ask how they would like you to do that.

A structured hiring process that provides an applicant-friendly experience and cultivates a positive impression of your employer brand builds trust in potential employees. This is key to drawing the right candidates to your organization.

And not settling for less!