I have my opinions on how to recruit and identify talent but that’s been hashed to bits all over the internet, so instead I’ll talk about a huge variable to hiring that seems to be very rarely understood. What is your risk tolerance for a mishire? Some places that are famous for their rigorous interview processes are also known for being very selective and more willing to turn away a potentially good candidate than risk hiring someone below their lofty standards. But we’re not all Google or Amazon and maybe don’t want to be.

Everyone involved in recruiting from HR to the hiring manager and anyone giving feedback should know the answer to this question before they render judgement. A lot of times, the cost of a mishire may not be that terrible. I’ve suffered a few and after the initial disappointment, we were able to recover our project velocity within a few weeks and no one was too upset. If you’ve been burned before or you’re hiring into a role that is highly visible, you may want to set your bar pretty high. But if you have 10 open reqs and a negotiable timeline, then maybe you’d be better served by taking a more credulous approach knowing that a mistake will be recoverable.

If it sounds crazy to say that you might want to accept an iffy candidate, consider that recruiting is expensive. Unfilled reqs are expensive. And you’ll never get a hit rate of 100% even if you exercise maximum skepticism.