How to Sell Your Boss on a Candidate's Potential

Julie Shenkman
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Convincing your boss that a job candidate is a good choice can be tricky. Depending on the circumstances, you could be putting your credibility at risk, so it is necessary to approach the campaign carefully. Once you have exhausted all research channels and are absolutely certain that you want to advocate for a particular candidate, then it is time to lay out a compelling case that appeals to both your boss's logic and emotion.

The most effective way to persuade your boss that a particular job candidate has potential depends on the circumstances. If you are championing one candidate over another, your tactics may follow one path, while if you are selling your boss on a candidate because you need to fill a staffing gap, your tactics may be different.

In either case, before you choose the candidate that you want to support, be certain that you are absolutely comfortable with the candidate's skills and abilities. Be prepared to allay any worries your boss may have about the candidate. If you have not already done so, perform a Google search on the job candidate and review any social media profiles that he may have to ensure that you would not be putting your organization at risk. Once you have made a solid decision, you can plan your strategy.

If you are building a case for one job candidate over another, the best angle is to highlight the exceptional qualities of your choice rather than expressing negativity toward the competing candidate. Outline in detail how the organization would benefit from your chosen candidate's skills. Provide examples of the candidate's prior successes and show how those experiences would help your organization. Stress the candidate's likable characteristics.

The way that you approach supporting a candidate when you have a staffing gap depends on how your boss feels about filling the position. If you need to convince your boss that your organization needs an additional employee, your first step should be to document tasks that are not being accomplished or specific problems that have been difficult to solve because of the staffing gap. Then detail how the job candidate could help work out those problems. Provide concrete, quantitative examples of how the candidate could positively affect the organization. The more compelling facts and numbers you can incorporate, the stronger your case.

If your boss is reluctant to fill the staffing gap because of budget constraints, approach it from both sides. Develop a budget that shows how the organization can afford to hire the candidate and how the candidate's input could positively affect the bottom line.

The most effective way to convince your boss that a job candidate has potential is to highlight that person's special skills and past performance. Then show how those skills and experiences can solve your organization's problems. Your judgment is at stake, so it is vital to be unequivocally certain in your choice before you attempt to persuade your boss. Research thoroughly and focus on what makes that job candidate exceptional.


(Photo courtesy of Ambro /


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