It is very common to provide a ‘wish list’ of what an ideal candidate for a position would look like, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that a line manager is being unrealistic. Often they will group different skills within that list according to which experiences are must have, preferred, and nice to have – making the job order a lot easier to identify candidate options for. But this isn’t always how the cookie crumbles…
In some circumstances clients are aware they are looking for a unicorn, because of specialised needs that they have. This in and of itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, say you are working on a project and require a highly specialised Architect to draw up your solutions design, to do things the right way, the first time. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, particularly if you are willing to flash the cash necessary to get the right person in the door. If you don’t have the dollars however this could prove problematic. What do they say about the on-going costs of mistakes and errors stemming from doing things on the cheap?
This does however become more problematic when it comes to business critical roles, which need to be filled in a timely manner, and the hiring manager is looking for Superman to fill the role, when all we have available and interested is the Green Lantern, Spiderman and Iron Man. Not necessarily bad options themselves, and with a bit of training and investment they could potentially become even better than Superman himself – but are they willing to take a punt?
The question that really needs to be asked in this scenario is how much damage and disruption is caused by waiting on the off chance Superman might decide that he is interested, maybe 6-12 months down the line? Are you in reality forgoing excellent candidates, who could do an equal or better job with a little investment (potentially less time than waiting for Superman) because they don’t match each and every one of your requirements to a tee? Is this really the best path to follow, or will a little flexibility and investment now, turn into the best possible outcome for all involved? Just a little something to think of next time you are penning a wish list for your next hire.
Happy Job Hunting!