We’re all familiar with the typical job descriptions – things like, “must have college degree, 8-10 years experience, knowledge of MS Office, etc.” But are these job descriptions driving away the very candidates we’re hoping to attract?
What is it that seems to thwart our effort to attract the brightest and best?
One of the problems is that job descriptions become the basis for job ads, interview criteria, and even the interviews themselves. Automatic resume screening, or resume parsing, obviously draws from the keywords of the job description, so there’s definitely an anchor point stemming from the job description in the hiring process. But what begins as a seemingly great idea soon follows an unintended path.
Sometimes the things we do for a very good reason have the exact opposite effect desired. The principle here is that what you focus on is what is achieved. Let me explain...
Job descriptions typically contain the bare minimum requirements for the position. Unfortunately, because the bar is set so low, it gets balanced with a laundry list of minimum requirements. This can include telling the candidate how they’re going to do their job, with no specification for what they’re supposed to actually achieve.
For the most part, this serves only to attract low to moderate performers. Why? Because that’s where the bar was set.
Someone who is a top performer won't be challenged by this, and therefore, you won't see them.
Let’s use the same principle – what you focus on is what is achieved – but take it in a different direction.
First, a question -
What is it that you really want when you’re in hiring mode?
Top performers? Not really.
You want business outcomes.
Pick a role, any role in your organization. What are the intended business outcomes for this particular role? Let me be even clearer – what are the ideal outcomes, not just the minimums? Chances are that 3-5 things can be directly tied to ideal business outcomes related to this position.
These things will be quantifiable, measurable, and specific. These things also can be prioritized, and many include a timeframe. For the role, we could refer to them as Key Accountabilities.
Here’s an example:
*In the examples below, the number in parentheses is the percent of importance to the overall job function.
Operations Manager -
Are you sitting down?
Because this next part might make you a bit nervous...
You know why resume parsing came into play, right? There are SO many applicants per job that it’s just IMPOSSIBLE to weed through all the applicants.
When you use Key Accountabilities as your guide map for the ad, interview criteria, etc., you’re not going to get nearly as many applicants. None of the low performers will even apply. And that will narrow your field substantially. The first time you do it, it will freak you out – much like the first time you ride a high-intensity roller coaster. Will this thing kill me? Once you’ve been on it at least once, and realize that it’s all safe, it won’t bother you going forward.
The reason the low performers won’t apply is that they know the outcomes in advance and know they can’t clear the bar. But the top performers will be challenged, and they will apply.
When you put your focus in the right area, you get the intended results.
Raise the bar!