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Should Employers Hire Applicants Who Do Not Meet Job Qualifications? You Make The Call

Waterman Hurst, a career coaching, solutions and services company, surveyed a virtual community of "board members, CEOs, C-level leaders, talent executives, managing directors, and executive search partners" in September of 2018.

Survey participants were asked: "Have you ever made the bold decision to champion an 'out of spec' or 'different' candidate knowing your recommendation may backfire on you or your career?"

"Yes", was the response of 79% of the survey participants; 21% responded "No", and 42% added that they recommend "out of spec" candidates "as a matter of course."

Waterman Hurst "79% of talent executives champion candidates that are 'different, diverse, or don't meet the job specifications' according to a recent survey of the gatekeepers" prnewswire.com (Feb. 21, 2019).


So, the question for our readers is: should employers hire applicants who do not meet job qualifications?

Please let us know what you think in the comment section or take the poll. Here are some opinions of some of the McCalmon editorial staff:

Jack McCalmon, Esq.

In today's hiring environment, employers are going to have to go "out of spec" if they want to find someone to fill a position. Finding someone who is "out of spec" as to education and experience is proper and allows you flexibility to hire the best candidate. However, avoid going "out of spec" when it comes to safety and background, especially if the person is going to work with children, vulnerable adults, controlled substances, finances, or is responsible for the safety of others.

Leslie Zieren, Esq.

I clerked for a federal judge who was looking to hire an extra, temporary law clerk to manage a multi-district litigation case. He asked me to do the preliminary interviews and gave me written requirements for the candidates, one being that the candidate had to have been in the top 10 percent of his or her law school graduating class. I knew the demands of the job, which would require someone who was a top graduate; but I also knew that the person needed to be highly organized in order to manage the multi-district case and docket. When I presented my interview findings to the judge, I asked him to make an exception to his "top 10 percent" requirement. I told him I had interviewed a candidate who I felt would do a great job. The candidate had exhibited necessary, strong organizational skills in other areas of life, but was in the top 17 percent of the graduating class, not the top 10 percent. The judge listened. I could tell he was considering it, but was not entirely convinced. It was then I told him that, by the way, I was not in the top 10 percent of my law school graduating class, but rather in the top 15 percent instead. He looked at me, now convinced, and said, "Ok, send your pick in to interview with me." The judge went with my pick, who did an extraordinary job and eventually replaced me when I later left my service to the judge to enter private practice.  

You can answer our poll. Please note any comments provided may be shared with others.  

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