Be Realistic About Your Expections When Hiring New Employees

Joe Weinlick
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Finding a new hire takes time, resources and money, so it's natural to want to find the perfect fit. If it's been months, and you're having trouble locating qualified candidates, it’s time for a reality check — the problem might not be with the talent pool, but with your expectations.

Hard Skills

Hard skills are a key part of every job description, but it's important to be realistic. If you're hiring for an entry-level or low-level position, for example, it's unreasonable to expect a portfolio packed with industry-specific projects. When it comes to software, technology and other skill sets, a working knowledge is usually acceptable — with a solid foundation, a smart new hire can usually get up to speed quickly on the job.

Cultural Fit

For a company with a strongly expressed culture, personality can be a make-or-break factor for a new hire. Before you write off a candidate because he didn't immediately vibe with the team, think again — nerves and interview anxiety can make it difficult to let loose. If you're still uncertain, try taking a poll of everyone who met the applicant. If the general response is positive, it's probably safe to make an offer, assuming that all other qualifications are up to par.


Salary is a crucial factor in the hiring process. Unfortunately, it's also one that's easy to get wrong. Most job seekers have seen postings that request an extensive portfolio and an impressive work history, all for an entry-level salary. This is insulting to qualified professionals, even when the job market is poor and competition is steep. Show respect for candidates and bring in a better new hire by making sure that the compensation and job title match your expectations. Research salaries at your top competitors, adjust for cost of living and bump up the number for positions that require unusual hours or advanced skills.


Modern professionals are busy and often overworked, which can lead to burnout and stress. A posting with a long list of responsibilities can put experienced candidates on alert — and it might explain a lack of applicants. If this sounds familiar, take a look at the job description. Does it include duties that were once handled by two people? During layoffs and lean periods, it's not uncommon to get rid of a position and distribute the responsibilities among remaining workers. If this has carried over, move the extraneous tasks to another, part-time position. The word "and" in a job title is another red flag that indicates that a new hire is expected to handle two different jobs.

When you're struggling to find an appropriate new hire, it's crucial to manage expectations. By creating a realistic description and keeping your hopes in check, you can find good candidates that develop into great employees.

Photo courtesy of Fresno Unified at


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