The Recruiting Template (Part One)

Although every organization wants to hire the ideal person for the job, those employers know that person does not exist.

No one is perfect. A more realistic approach is to define the perfect candidate and then use that definition as a recruiting template.

That template has three components: education and training, professional experience, and personality.

The first two are often advertised as either preferred or required. The third one is almost always non-negotiable. Regardless, the imperfect candidate will be offered the job if two conditions are met: (1) those imperfections are identified in advance; and (2) those imperfections are either tolerable or, better yet, correctable once the person is on the job.

Today begins a four-part series in which I will address the first of the three components: Education and Training.

Most jobs have training and educational minimums or requirements associated with them. Your academic training has to meet certain minimum requirements. These may include high school graduation, college courses, degrees conferred, degree equivalency, technical or trade schools completed, and other classroom or academic oriented certifications and licenses.

Other criteria include academic performance and non-classroom activities during your academic endeavors. The circumstances under which you attained your education and training will also receive scrutiny. Did you self-finance? Receive scholarships? Work part- or full-time? Were you deployed or on remote assignment? Holding down a job and supporting a family? Serving your country?

For college graduates, many employers look beyond the classroom and consider leadership, athletics, service organizations, clubs, and volunteerism as important parts of your academic profile. Academic achievement is also important in that it is an indicator of your trainability and potential for success and growth in the organization.

As you can see, there is much more to your academic profile than a framed certificate, license, or diploma.

Please join me next time for a look at the second component of the template: Professional Experience.

For more on this subject, visit © 2017, Tom Wolfe; all rights reserved; used with the permission of the author

About Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe is an author, columnist, career coach, veteran, and an expert in the field of military-to-civilian career transition. During his career he assisted thousands of service members in their searches for employment, placing more than 3000 in their new jobs. Prior to civilian life, he graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy and served as a surface warfare officer. He teaches transition courses, gives seminars on career and job change, writes about the career transition process, and continues to counsel current and former military personnel. He is a regular contributor to, Military Transition News,, and Tom serves on the board of advisors of VETS360 and Zone214. His book, Out of Uniform: Your Guide to a Successful Military-to-Civilian Career Transition (, was published in 2012 by University of Nebraska Press/Potomac Books, with a second printing in 2013. Tom lives on the North Carolina coast with his wife, Julie, and their Chesapeake Bay retriever, Maggie. You can also check out

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