What is the definition of a perfect candidate for a job?

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One of my resume clients asked me an interesting question the other day.

She knew that I’ve been in the search and recruiting business for 26 years, and because of this she assumed (a very dangerous thing to do, but that’s a topic for another day) that I would have the answer to her question.

She asked me – What is the definition of a perfect candidate for a job?

I thought about this for a moment, and then I asked her the same question. I told her that I would give her my answer, but that first I wanted to know what she thought. I wanted her to give me her definition of the perfect candidate.

She took a breath and started talking. She talked about general and specific experience…she talked about education…she talked about attitude and personality and style…she even talked about the hiring manager liking you as a first step. In other words, by the time I stopped her she had mentioned at least 10 or 12 important criteria of the hiring process. And everything she had mentioned was important…every one of the things she talked about is an important part in the “getting a job” process. But none of them was the answer to her question. Not one of them was a complete answer to the question – What is the definition of the perfect candidate for a job?

Those of you who are familiar with my Keep It Simple Resumes will not be surprised at my next statement. Because the answer is simple, much more simple than evaluating someone’s experience or style or business philosophy. In fact, the answer is so simple that, until you give it some thought, you might not believe that it’s the right answer at all. But, after you think about it a bit, I’m confident that most of you will see the truth and the value in my answer.

The perfect candidate for a job is – The Person Who Gets The Job! He/she was good enough to be offered the job, and he/she took it. End of story! The search is over! The requisition is filled! The hiring manager is happy! Human Resources can cross this one off of their list!

Think about it. The message here is real simple. If your resume doesn’t make the cut – if it doesn’t make it into the “to be considered” pile – if your resume doesn’t get you an invitation to interview for the job – then you won’t get the job. You might be 100% qualified for the job – you might be 10 times as good as the other candidates – you might actually be the perfectly-qualified candidate. But if the other candidates interview and you don’t, and if one of the other candidates gets the job and you don’t – then the other person is the perfect candidate for the job – NOT YOU!

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What is the definition of a perfect candidate for a job?