While well-written job descriptions and thoughtful lists of qualifications are required protocol in corporate HR, job seeking candidates also have a list of things they are looking for and, sadly, many of them are not contained in the job descriptions so carefully created to attract them.
Using Job Descriptions to Target “Perfect” Candidates
Recently, one of my retained search clients was searching for their new CFO. I prepared a job description for them based on our conversations about what duties and responsibilities this person would have, as well as what type of qualifications they felt would be necessary to be considered a successful candidate. I sent the document to them to approve, and they sent it back with red lines from five people who would be both subordinates and colleagues with this person. The edits were eye opening. The majority of the comments fell under the “requirements” area and were so lofty and strict that the only way to find a single person that possessed this entire list of qualifications and experience would be to clone them from the expertly trimmed hairs of about four different people.
It got me to thinking about the age-old gap between the candidate a company wants to hire and what actually attracts candidates to a job or a company. I have always encouraged both job seekers and companies to use the 80/20 rule when writing job descriptions and creating recruitment marketing campaigns.
Following the 80/20 Rule for Job Descriptions, Recruitment
From the company’s side, you should identify candidates with about 80% of what you are looking for in order to give them 20% of the growth they need in the position. Hiring someone who has absolutely 100% of your list leaves them little room for personal and professional growth in that role and causes faster turnover. The average job turn is not far past 27 months, and if you can’t promote someone to a new role and title in about three years, you run the risk of losing them.
People who have the work ethic, professionalism and enthusiasm to do the work, combined with the majority of the necessary technical expertise to be successful, will ensure there will be enough personal and professional growth for them in their current role. When promotion time rolls around, they’re more likely to still be an engaged and contributing member of the corporate team. This is important to remember when writing your job descriptions.
Additionally, candidates who exhibit some flexibility are often the best to hire. When you are looking for suitable candidates for a job, those who focus on the work to be performed (not commute, work hours, flex time, telecommuting options and other benefits) are people who will stay committed through thick and thin because they are challenged. The perfect job may be a 10 or 15 minute longer drive, but it will be worth it in intellectual payoff over time for a properly engaged person.
In your experience, has requiring less than 100% produced more highly engaged, longer-lasting employees? Or do you still believe candidates must have it all in order to be considered?
Image: Peter O./Flickr