Every recruiting activity, from building a candidate pool to hiring, has two sides. The side of the employer & the job and the side of the candidate. Each of these sides consists of various elements. And every element has various attributes and variations, making each side unique at any given time.


The job of Marketing Specialist, for instance, could have fundamentally different responsibilities and level of decision making among different organizations.

This can be attributed to the combination of skills that every member of the team has; the dynamics within the team or the freedom line managers give to their direct reports. Company culture is also something that affects a job, just like the industry.

All these elements and their variations create a unique combination, which results in a unique job.


The candidate is as well characterized by a profound complexity. This complexity is the result of many variables. Characteristics and personality traits can vary tremendously, not only among different people but, also, among different situations and contexts.

Mary, for example, may be considered as an extrovert in x situation. Obviously, the level of extroversion Mary has is different from other candidates’ extroversion, but at the same time, it may differ in a z situation.

Apart from characteristics, traits and their variations, candidates have also various needs and preferences. All these, generate a unique set of variables, which lead to even greater complexity, from the one we talked about when analyzing the job.

If every job is unique and every candidate is unique, it becomes evident that there can’t be an ideal match between these two. People and jobs are not just two pieces of a puzzle that may or may not match. Each of these two entities is a whole puzzle on its own, and both puzzles must be compatible in a way, in order to produce a successful result.

So, what does this mean for recruiters and the recruiting context in general?


While there can’t be a perfect fit between a job and a candidate, luckily, people are quite fluid and adaptable. This enables them to adjust to an extent, in order to perform well in a job or a certain situation. This means, that candidates’ ability, and most importantly, willingness to adapt to certain contextual elements, is the key to selecting fitting candidates.

So, recruiters should focus on assessing candidates’ willingness and ability to adapt and to learn.

The person’s motivation to do so rises from different things. Some may want to do very specific tasks in their job. Others may want to work at a certain organization or for a very specific mission, making the job per se a bit irrelevant.

It’s the recruiters’ responsibility to explore candidates’ sources of motivation and identify the elements that motivate candidates and push them to adjust. If the recruiter’s organizational environment incorporates these elements (based on the assumption that recruiters have invested time and effort to comprehend their environment), then, there’s a potential match, which constitutes a good common ground for a partnership to begin between the organization and the candidate.

In any case, it’s up to recruiters to handle this complexity, by understanding both sides’ characteristics and needs. The job is definitely not easy. But then again, what job is? Especially, when one’s determined to do it well.


📌 Editor’s Pick at The HR Gazette: click here to view the article in The HR Gazette Blog

Recruiting is a topic dear to my heart, so I really hope to have helped you in a way. Share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me and make sure you don’t miss my future posts by following me on LinkedIn. Finally, if you’d like to get in touch, my email is or you can message me on LinkedIn.

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