Recruitment & Hiring

When should you turn down a qualified job applicant?

Saxon Marsden-Huggins /

You’ve gone out to market with a job ad, had some great candidates apply for your vacancy and arranged interviews with your qualified candidates. In theory, you should have an array of ideal candidates if their resumes state they meet your key criteria.

Alas, our expectations aren’t always met, particularly in the complex world of recruitment. There are times when a qualified candidate still might not be the best fit for your organisation and you should question hiring them. Consider the following scenarios next time you run into a candidate who doesn’t quite match-up to your expectations.

If you question their abilities

Oftentimes, a business owner or hiring manager will say they saw red flags in a candidate before they made an offer. While these red flags are often overlooked with the hope they will work themselves out, this can be a risky strategy. Red flags always come back to haunt you as they often don’t resolve themselves. No matter how qualified a candidate is, do not make a job offer if there are any red flags and other candidates that may be better worth your investment.

When there is no cultural fit

Cultural fit is key to team cohesion, especially in SMEs. It is important new hires believe and support the values of your company and are committed to building its future. You can test whether a candidate has cultural fit by bringing potential employees in for group interviews with the team they would join or ask a variety of personality questions. If they do not mesh, it is usually wise to turn them down.

If their salary expectations don’t match your budget

It is important to have discussions about salary requirements. Sometimes a qualified candidate will request a salary that your business simply cannot pay. Use industry salary standards to determine what your candidates should expect and use it as a tool for salary negotiations. If they are unwilling to compromise, then it is time to choose another candidate.

Saxon Marsden-Huggins is the managing director of Recruit Shop, which offers recruitment services to small businesses in Australia and New Zealand. 

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Saxon Marsden-Huggins

Saxon Marsden-Huggins is the managing director of Recruit Shop, which offers recruitment services to small businesses in Australia and New Zealand.

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