Written by: Kelsey Chalifoux

A great candidate, the “right” candidate, is dressed professionally in a neutral color suit, carrying a leather portfolio, prepared with a list of all the “right” questions. Right? Well, yes, but not entirely. While these are all things we envision in our “ideal pick,” they certainly aren’t the only hints of long-term success potential. Hiring is very much an “in the moment” experience, as any seasoned executive can attest to, but for the good of the long-term health of your team and organization it is essential that we look beyond the “here” and “now” further down the road to “when”.

The right candidate might be in disguise.

Gain an understanding of your candidate’s past experience and expertise. Resumes will never fully tell the story behind passion and drive. Yes, there are always going to be current X, Y, and Z qualification requirements, but think strategically about what the job looks like in a year… or even five? Instead of shaping the candidate to the position, meet in the middle, and reconsider the formula. Sometimes the person who will be the best fit now, as they continue to develop, is a diamond in the rough. An exploratory discussion that goes beyond the paper tells of that intangible spark brought to the table, outweighing the formal credentials. A passion for where your candidate’s been and raw enthusiasm for where they’re going hold a high, non-visible value. Someone with this kind of personality and fire is magnetic in a corporate culture, as that fire almost always continues to grow throughout their career. Often times, by taking off our blinders and expanding our view, we find that the idea of the “perfect leader” for our team can be a book re-written by the candidate themselves.

Ideas are like produce: best when fresh.

Your candidate is answering each of the methodical questions about his or her current or previous positions well, but are they offering anything fresh or original about their future, specifically within your team? Spend some time understanding how they see the future: can they offer a unique visualization accompanied by the execution to reach it? A visionary is an asset to almost any company, regardless of shape or size. They push boundaries, they encourage free thinking, and they add the element of innovation to what may be a flat, dated environment.

Trust your search team.

It’s always reassuring when you’re holding the perfect resume, but it’s easy to be fooled by qualifications as they appear on paper. Sometimes, we become so romanced by the way a background can look when neatly bulleted out on paper that we cast away the possibility that someone less attractive in writing, might be more effective in the long-term. Trust the recruiter who saw something in this person, something different, interesting enough to put their name on it.

Hiring for the here and now is important, but recognizing undiscovered potential of an individual you may not have otherwise chosen is crucial to the long-term health of your organization. 

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