If your organization is like most companies, when it comes to the interview and hiring process, it can be an exhausting experience that you would just as soon not repeat. Whether you use a search firm like Reaction Search International, or are using other means to recruit talent to your organization, the process alone is an extremely involved one that requires the use of a valuable asset-time–in order to identify and hire the right individual for your available position. Considering the fact that the interview and hiring process can be a daunting one, especially if you are conducting the search on your own, companies have experimented with hiring atypical candidates. In other words, some companies have opted to throw out the “cookie-cutter” candidate profile in favor of non-traditional hires. Those organizations that have engaged in these types of hiring processes have had varying results.

Comparing the Options

On one hand, dismissing the traditional candidate background opens up the possibility for your company to increase

diversity, introduce new perspectives and energy not previously present in the culture. On the other hand, a non-traditional hire can be unpredictable and potentially yield devastating results. With this said, what is the secret that companies who have successfully hired non-traditional candidates discovered? Although they may be open to hiring “outside of the box,” they, under no uncertain circumstances, abandon their formal hiring and interviewing procedures.

For example, when companies are entertaining the idea of hiring a non-traditional candidate, they need to first consider if they have a legitimate business reason to do so. Is the company in need of new innovative ideas? Could this person perform well in the position with their previous experience? Will this person remain with the organization on a short or long-term basis? Questions like these are critical to answer before moving forward with a non-traditional candidate in order to best evaluate whether or not their skills and the requirements of the position will create a good match.

In addition to critically judging the rationale behind considering a non-traditional hire, companies also need to preserve the hiring

process, which should include background and reference checks on the candidates. If it is typical for a company to have candidates interview with a group of key employees, companies need to make sure they follow the same interview steps they would with a traditional hire. Not only will this allow for other members of the company to judge whether or not the candidate makes a good fit for the company, it will also prevent accusations of discriminatory hiring practices on behalf of previous candidates that were subject to different interviewing procedures for the same position.

Ultimately, if companies find themselves in a position where they are seriously considering extending an offer of employment to a candidate that differs from the norm in terms of experience, education, and so forth, it is in their best interest to make sure they have covered all of their bases. This includes determining the business rationale behind the hire, what skills and qualifications the candidate has to offer the company, and if the decision will prove effective and produce the desired result for everyone.