By now, we have heard the news that there is a shortage of talented professionals in the hiring marketplace. With the U.S. and Global economies going well, there are many positions available without the volume of professionals to fill them. That is, unless hiring managers know how to attract the right people for their positions. Hiring Managers should not look at themselves as buyers of talent, but as sellers of their position. Managers need to understand that qualified candidates have choices of where they want to go and multiple positions to choose from. Unless managers highlight the strengths of their positions, they are unlikely to attract the candidates they need. A typical job description just will not cut it in this environment where the candidates have the ball in their court.

Presenting candidates with the typical job description: company information on top, followed by a brief description of the type of group and business they’re in, then a list of required and preferred skills just does not attract people the way it used to. The job description order has lost its effectiveness in attracting quality candidates and does not make anyone jump at the opportunity. Let’s break this down:

  • The Company description - people can search the company on the internet and gain as much or as little as they want in seconds.
  • The Position description - usually lacks specifics on what the person is expected to do, what their role in the group will be on a day to day, project by project or long-term basis, where they fit in on the hierarchy of the group or any mention of the group’s culture.
  • Skills - these job descriptions usually ask for a plethora of skills, many of which are not identified as “must have’s” and the depth needed with that skill, nor the “nice to have’s” which are those skills that the manager prefers the candidate to have, as they would be working with that skill peripherally or to a lesser degree than the main skills.

** In my 25 years as a recruiter, the depth of the skills the manager requires can be a moving target, are not set in stone, and the manager will typically compromise on the skill level required depending on their choice of candidates.

Candidates are looking to build their career and keep their career in an upward trajectory. They are unlikely to be wowed or inspired by a standard job description. Managers need to sell their groups, highlight the positives of their position and benefits of what the company can do for them. And, we haven’t even mentioned one of the most important points of making a strong match, which is the personality of the candidate to the culture of the hiring group. From experience, I can tell you the best matches are made when the candidate’s outlook, positivity and personality is matched correctly to the culture of the group.

In extremely rare cases, an employee is terminated because the person is not technical enough or unable to learn the skills required to do their job. Most terminations happen because the person does not fit well within the group, causes problems with their colleagues or does not work well with the style of the manager. Employees do not want to be micromanaged, watched like a hawk, or have their worked checked constantly because the manager does not trust the work that they produce. Technical individuals want space to do their work; away from micromanagers and prying eyes, in an environment where there is trust and with a degree of freedom to do their thing. Of course, a collaborative environment, with good colleagues and a manager who supports their group, doesn’t hurt the manager’s chances of recruiting the highly skilled individuals they require.