Hire the One You Like
Hire the person you like. It can be that simple.
Cast a wide net. Screen for minimum qualifications. Ask for the minimum education. Screen IN as many likely applicants as possible. Review resumes, conduct phone screens, do your face-to-face interviews, and then start to focus your applicant pool to those who are most likely candidates. You've screened and interviewed candidates who are qualified. You haven't interviewed anyone who isn't, so now you're potentially faced with several qualified candidates--and all have met the minimum job qualifications. Do you hire the MOST qualified candidate? Or do you do what I do and hire the candidate you like the best? The one you WANT to work with, maybe have lunch with, get to know?
Do you walk away from the interview thinking, gosh, I'd love to work with him! He's smart and funny and I think he'd be a great fit for the team. He's got the minimum qualifications AND he just seems right. He is easy to talk with, looks me in the eye, and is confident without being arrogant. I really think I want to work with him.
Or do you walk away from the interview thinking, gosh, I'm not sure about her. She meets all of the qualifications for the job but I'm not sure she's just the right fit. She answered all of my questions adequately but I don't really want to work with her. It wasn't easy to get her to talk and our interview seemed strained at times. I don't know. I guess I just don't like her. She does have great skills, though. Exceeds the minimum qualifications of the job. She just seems arrogant, has an edge to her.
And so you're faced with two final candidates: One meets the minimum qualifications, you like him a lot, and think he'd be a great fit. The other exceeds the minimum qualifications but you just don't like her all that much.
I'll hire the person I like. Here's my thought process. I only ever screen in candidates who meet the minimum qualifications of the job. This is why I live by my "rule of minimums." I prefer to cast a wide net rather than set the bar so high that I may be forced to hire someone I don't really like but who meets my very high standards. And oftentimes, the high standards aren't really necessary. Do you REALLY need 10 years of previous experience or will three years do it, or maybe even one year? If I'm set on 10 years, I'll get fewer applicants than if I require one year. And possibly the person who I interview who has four years of experience is "just right" for the job and the team and me.
If I only ever interview qualified candidates, then I will always get to hire the person I want to work with.
What does your screening and interview process look like? Take another look. See if it's working for you.
Who have you hired lately?