Job Descriptions are a truly terrible way of attracting top talent.
I believe that traditional job descriptions / job adverts (often one is a cut and paste of the other), are a truly terrible way of attracting a candidate.
This bothered me enough to go out and find a solution. Here it is.
What do the top 15% of candidates actually want?
Top performing candidates (did you really want to hire any other kind?) look for jobs differently to other candidates. Top performing candidates look for the challenge in a role. They look for an opportunity to learn something, so they can overcome that challenge. They look for personal recognition for having overcome that challenge. Ultimately this leads to fulfillment and happiness.
I could get all hippy right now, and talk to you about the value of mastery, but I won’t. Most of you are hiring managers and what you really want to know is how this benefits for you.
Well, it’s a given that the top performing candidate is, the candidate who is going to get the job. And therefore solve your business problem. Attracting this candidate is your top priority.
The top-performing candidate is also likely to be the one that actually wants the job the most. And therefore be less likely to demand a socking great pay rise. (Your budgets are still under pressure as per usual, right)? That’s the money bit sorted.
Additionally, being the top dog hiring manager, gets you big kudos with your boss. And you’ll be like catnip to your HR team. That’s the stakeholder piece made a whole lot easier.
So, how do you go about getting a top-performing candidate?
So, how do you go about getting a top-performing candidate? (As opposed to one who matches a menu of skills, experience and qualifications and is willing to consider the role for a decent pay rise)?
Well, try this. Stop writing crap job adverts and/or cutting and pasting the job description. Start speaking to the things top-performing candidates want. What were those things again? Challenge, learning, overcoming the challlenge, recognition, fulfillment and happiness.
Experience v Performance
If you are looking for 5 years’ experience in widgets, ask yourself what you want the candidate to do with that 5 years experience. Use that answer to attract the candidate. And ask yourself, “If the candidate can achieve this for you, and only has 4 ½ years experience, does it matter?” Often the answer provides flexibility for you to focus on the performance of the candidate and not the ingredients specified in that awful job description. Helpful.
Knowledge v Outcomes
If you are looking for knowledge of widget 2.0, ask yourself what you want the candidate to do with this knowledge. Use the answer to attract the candidate who actually wants to do what you want. And ask yourself “If the candidate can do what you want, and is not knowledgeable about Widget 2.0, do you really care”? Sometimes, when baking the job cake, the ingredients of skills, experience and qualifications, do not better the capabilities of a good chef. Go figure.
Qualification v Results
If you are looking for qualifications, say a BSc in Widgets, then ask yourself what you want the candidate to do with this qualification and, you guessed it, use the answer to attract the candidate who actually wants to do that. Also… wait for it, ask yourself, if the candidate can deliver what you want, is not having the qualification a deal breaker? Sometimes it’s not.
The bottom 85% of candidates excluded
This way of attracting candidates no longer has a menu of skills, experience and qualifications to (mis)match to. The only thing left to match to, is all the things you actually want done. If the candidate cannot demonstrate or is not motivated to, perform the things you want, they will not be attracted by this new job advert you have written. Hmm, that’s the bottom 85% of candidates excluded – handy.
The top 15% of candidates attracted
Your message will appeal to those candidates who totally recognise themselves in your, what shall we call it, performance profile? Snazzy new job advert? whatever you want to call it, but it is no longer a cut and paste of the – turgid and poorly equipped to attract a top performing candidate – Job Description. Cool, that’s the top 15% of candidates attracted.
So, you exclude the bottom 85% of candidates, attract the top 15%, have really got to understand your real job needs and are attracting a solution to that, rather than just regurgitating the Job Description. Now how different do you sound to potential candidates? Now how better do you perform at hiring? How much easier is it to deal with vacancies when they arise – and handle HR? Fancy being that hiring manager? Thought so.
Stop writing crappy, poor performing job adverts and start writing performance profiles. Or you can get me to do it for you 😉
Learn more about how we help hiring managers like you attract and hire only the top 15% of candidates. Oh and for less money than the bottom 85%. This free guide tells you what you need to know.
Until the next time. Watch out for the young men with directional hair who promise the earth and then cut and paste your Job Description on to LinkedIn and send you the results!