The “A” candidate (vs) the “B” candidate

The "A" candidate (vs) the "B" candidate

Chantal KadingIt’s becoming more apparent that we are dealing with a skills gap in today’s job market, points out executive coach, leadership & talent strategist, and founder / managing director of People Shop in Cape Town. Chantal Kading. Organisations are desperately trying to fill positions, spending months on recruitment processes, but cannot find the right calibre of candidates to meet their requirements. Here she discusses the marked differences between those able to “hit the ground running”, and those who need some time to get moving at full pace.

We are finding that organisations are increasingly looking for people who have the right job skills, and can come straight into a role with limited need for training and development; capable of producing results from day one. These candidates are what we refer to as the “A” candidate. The “B” candidate is someone who may take longer to deliver an impact, but with the right guidance, they become consistent and competent. 

The “A” candidate

These candidates are in high demand for their talent, their ability to pass assessments well above their peers, as well as command a room with very little effort. The “A” candidate therefore seems like the “perfect” candidate. However, because they know they are in demand, they are more likely to entertain counter offers and request salary expectations that are well above what the organisations are able to afford, or even above their skill set. 

The response from our clients is that the individual has not yet proven their worth, nor added any value in order to justify such expectations. This creates a misalignment, as the organisation places emphasis on the candidate’s potential to fulfil the requirements of the role , whereas the ‘A” candidate places emphasis on his/her demand in the market, as well as his/her current performance. 

“A” candidates generally have a low level of commitment during the recruitment and interview process; they are oftentimes very inflexible, and display a lack of effort in making themselves available for interviews. Furthermore, they do not always make the first interview time, and are increasingly difficult to reach; they also are less likely to compromise or accept the first offer given. 

At the onset their motivation is career growth; however, towards the end of the process their focus shifts predominantly to financial gain. This leads to clients questioning us about the candidates’ true motives and commitment to making a change. “A” candidates are also more likely to have one eye on the door and be on the lookout for a role that is going to get them the senior job title quicker – and the commensurate salary –  leaving you to start your hiring process all over again.

The “B” candidate

The “B” candidate is the less-than perfect candidate, who is committed, but gets overlooked solely because they are not the “A” candidate. They have the right level of job skills, the right experience to be able to do the job, but may require a month or two of guidance in a new environment. However, according to Forbes, “hiring a “B” candidate who may not be 100% perfectly qualified for a position can actually make better sense long term. It’s been our experience that “B” candidates are a lot more grateful for the challenge and opportunity that a job affords them to grow, and in return are more inclined to remain loyal to the job and the organisation.” (Guy Nadivi).

“B” candidates have also shown a lot more willingness to learn as well as the ability to be adaptable. It’s not that the “B” candidate is not a good candidate, just that they don’t tick all the boxes perfectly. With that being said, their ability to satisfy most of the other key requirements, proves their potential to develop the one or two they may lack. The other benefit of choosing the “B” candidate is that they are not likely to entertain counter offers, nor are their salary expectations unrealistic; they have a career approach and not a financial and title approach. This brings us to the cliche about hiring for attitudes, not for skills. If a candidate has the right attitude and strengths, any gaps in their experience can be learnt from a great leader.

Like the famous quote says “Experts built the Titanic; amateurs built the Ark”.

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