Sunday, June 03, 2007

NEWSFLASH - Publishing smarter job ads gets you smarter candidates!

As a recruiter, I often find myself arguing (strike that... "persuading") my hiring managers to be very realistic when specifying the educational and experience requirements for a job they want to fill. You have no idea how many job posting requests I shoot down because they want a person to have an MBA and 15 years experience to take on an entry level sales role.... ?!?!! Ugh!

What we all need to think about is what are the experiences and education that are really necessary for someone to perform the job well. Doing so we can avoid the legal risk associated with posting for 15 years experience with an MBA, then finding our perfect candidate with only 5 years and a BA, or just plain looking stupid to our candidates for not knowing what it really takes to do the job. We need to get up to speed on this fast because the days when you could get talented folks to respond to a poorly constructed job ad are over - talented people are smart and can smell a line of bullcrap a mile away. They want to know more about the job and less about the price of entry.

Setting clear and defensible minimum qualifications up front will allow your candidates to self-select out if they don't measure up while not unnecessarily limiting your candidate pool. Remember, this isn't just a convenience issue - it's a potential legal problem. The US Department of Labor takes a VERY dim view of employers who post one standard, then allow someone below that standard to get the job. It's especially bad if someone in a protected class takes offense at being on the short end of that deal.


Take a long hard look at the job postings you are putting up. Are they a realistic statement of what it really takes to do the job, or are they some dream sheet? Get down to the basics of what job REALLY requires, then sell the finer things about the role, your team and your company to the candidates to ensure that smart, properly qualified candidates fill your pipeline!



Bruce said...

I've watched this problem a few times, through more than one company I've been at. What I don't understand is the motivation. In a purely theoretical world, a manager would want to hire the least qualified candidate (lower pay) who can do the best job. Are we really that convinced that only an MBA, or someone w/ 5-7 years experience, or someone who has managed 12 or more direct reports, etc. can do the job? It seems frustrating from all sides. You end up with a limited, overqualified candidate pool, and they may still not have the skills you want. Any insight on why we keep seeing this phenomenon?

Patrick Williams said...

It's anyone's guess why managers sabotage their searches this way, but my expectation is that managers want to hire the best and brightest talent and have a hard time leveling best and brightest into the actual requirements of the role because they don't know how to measure candidates aside from the education and experience - they should be focusing on how well the candidate has done in using the really required skills to deliver business results... but that's a topic covered in my next post....

Colin Kingsbury said...

Hallelujah! As you might imagine I see tons of job descriptions from a lot of different companies. Out of the mess I'd say 60% are bland and uninspiring, while 25% are downright embarassing. Once upon a time, I'd fix spelling errors or send people friendly suggestions, but eventually gave up because they never paid attention. Yours though are consistently among the best!

Patrick Williams said...

Ah, Colin... flattery will get you EVERYWHERE!