Mar 29

Hiring an Imperfect Job Candidate? Here Are Five Ways to Make It Work

Just to be clear, there’s no perfect employee, okay?

When we say “imperfect” in this context, we mean someone who might not have as much experience as you’d like, who might have a sizable employment gap in their CV, and so on. In short, someone who, at first glance, might seem ill-suited for the job.

Sure, we all have a checklist when shopping around for a candidate, but let’s face it. Not everyone who applies will tick all the items on that list.

And with today’s competitive job market, there isn’t always a lot of choice. In many cases, you might need to hire an imperfect candidate, so to speak.

But guess what? Sometimes, doing that can prove to be the best thing for your company. A candidate that might not seem ideal on paper could just as well prove to be a good fit for yours, and such a compatibility beats a degree from a prestigious university any day, all things held constant.

So, regardless which job position you’re trying to fill right now, it’s time to drop the unrealistic standard.

Now, let’s say you badly need to fill a certain position and the only option is to hire an “imperfect” candidate. Here are five strategies to help you make the most out of it.

Use the Right Criteria


It all starts with your job posting. Avoid writing job descriptions that are way too unrealistic. Too many employers write ones that read like a laundry list for an entire team of people – for just one role. And then they wonder why no one is applying.

Instead of writing that wish list, base your criteria on your top performers. What do they have in common? Which types of workers excel at which roles? What traits do they exhibit that you’d like your new hires to have?

Then have a look at which of the applicants display such. Remember, you can train for skills, but not for attitude.

Focus on their Capacity for Learning

Focus on their Capacity for Learning

Speaking of which, don’t worry too much if a candidate isn’t too experienced or skilled. Knowledge can be acquired and skill can be practiced. What matters more is the employee’s capacity and willingness to learn and unlearn.

You can also ask your existing employees to guide their new colleague. If they’ll all be working together in the same department, they’ll be better equipped to help them out with the inevitable learning curve.

But prior to that, ask them about which particular skills they need help learning, and the best way for them to learn. Do they pick things up better on the job? Or would they appreciate a short orientation and introduction first?

Consider Other Opinions

Consider Other Opinions

Before you post that job opening online, why not ask your top performers for a referral first?

For example, if you want to hire a new writer, ask the head writer first for their recommendations first. Be clear about why you want to hire another person, so your existing employees can either help you find the right one or decide on an alternative (e.g., getting a project-based remote worker during peak periods, etc).

And if you all decide to get someone new, get your top performers involved. They can either refer someone in their network (birds of a feather flock together, and all that), or provide some much-needed perspective during the selection process. Especially when the candidates might appear less than ideal on paper.

After all, the ones who can better spot someone who’d be good for a job are those who are already doing (and excelling) at that same job.

Zero In on Emotional Intelligence

Zero In on Emotional Intelligence

Most of the time, we hire people for their intellect or skill, and rightly so. However, let’s not leave out their emotional intelligence too.

When considering an imperfect candidate, observe how s/he manages pressure and stress. Try posing difficult, situation-based questions to determine how s/he would treat people, address a problem, and formulate a solution.

Never Compromise on Character

Never Compromise on Character

You can work with someone with less expertise or experience, but never compromise when it comes to integrity and character.

This is where the background check comes in. If you’re iffy about a candidate’s job-hopping history or that gap on their CV, get in touch with their former employers to get the story straight.

It’s perfectly normal to take a break from work to raise a family, pursue further education, and so on.

But lying about such, among other things, is a red flag.


While it’s true that perfect candidates don’t exist, great ones do. And they can do wonders for you and your business.

Fortunately, you won’t have to search far and wide just to find them.

Remote Staff has been providing Australian SMEs and entrepreneurs like you with skilled and talented remote workers from the Philippines since 2007. Aside from hiring, we also help with onboarding. Regardless of which role you need to fill, we’re sure to have the right people in our rich talent pool.

Call us today or schedule a call back and let’s start building your perfect team.


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Disclaimer: The above article was written according to the information available as of press time.
All opinions and beliefs expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Remote Staff's, its employees, subcontractors, clients, and affiliates.

About The Author

Serena has been working remotely and writing content for the better part of the last decade. To date, she's written for and Mabuhay Magazine, among others, and has churned out more than a thousand articles on everything from The Basics of Stock Market Investing to How to Make Milk Tea-Flavored Taho at home. Hermits, aspiring hermits, and non-hermits with interesting project propositions may email her at

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