Job Descriptions Don’t Produce the Best Candidates. Here’s Why.

October 15th, 2014

Most job descriptions are produced by human resources department and have little to do with identifying and attracting high-caliber, top-performing candidates. Although job descriptions are posted on websites and expected to motivate and attract these prospects, content doesn’t match the intent. Normally a common job description defines the following:

  • Scope of the role
  • Skills required (4 years of X, 5 years of Y)
  • Technologies required (4 years of X, 5 years of Y)
  • Education required

Job descriptions are a natural de-motivator as they are derived from the employers viewpoint, providing nothing to intrigue the candidate. They only furnish information about what the candidate “must have”, and provides no information of interest to the candidate. It also limits the candidate’s motivation to pursue the opportunity, as it creates a profile of the ideal candidate – one who doesn’t exist.

Why would a top-performer respond to a posting they aren’t qualified for? Only hungry candidates hoping to get a sniff at an opportunity apply, leaving the high-caliber, passive candidate excelling in their current positions and ignoring the un-interesting information presented in the job description. And from the company standpoint, no matter how extensive the screening process, no single candidate will ever measure up. Each interviewer has to make it up on their own, it’s just not a good barometer for judging who fits the role.

What is the Alternative to a Job Description?

Develop a Candidate Profile. Identify the necessary information to market the position (to the desired candidates), provide education for interviewers about job content/ requirements, and determine the ideal candidate experience necessary to excel in the role.

  • What is the purpose of the position?
  • Define the scope of responsibility.
  • What needs to be accomplished in the first twelve to eighteen months?
  • Uncover the challenges and hurdles looming in the future.
  • Determine critical competency/competencies necessary.
  • Spell out the definition of success.

Human nature promotes an inclination to look for candidates who have already accomplished everything they will be expected to do in the role. But that is misguided. The upper twenty percent candidates – the talent acquisition targets ­– aren’t satisfied with what they have already done and are looking for new challenges. But they don’t want to stretch so far as to seem incompetent.

For best results, identify the competency necessary to excel in the role, i.e., not necessarily the skills or technical products utilized in position.  Top candidates are motivated by challenge, gaining new experience, and making an impact; not becoming a complacent employee doing the exact same thing in their new role as they did in their last.

At Honer and Associates, we know how to produce the best candidates for your search. Trust us to find talented, eager-to-learn professionals who will improve your organization from the first day on the job. Contact Honer and Associates today.

7 Benefits of Hiring the Highest Caliber Talent Available

January 30th, 2014

Controlling and optimizing company strategy and providing oversight is the primary role of corporate management. However, out of everything that corporate management controls, setting the vision for the quality and caliber of staff hired makes the biggest impact. It has the top spot; it is management’s most important function.

In global business there is no greater potential ROI than the quality of staff hired. In my personal opinion, I do not think that there is any other decision that could possibly yield a 1000 to 1 ROI as each individual hire can yield. It is surely not achieved by changing office supply vendors, moving locations, or entering new markets.

But besides numbers, there are assets produced by diligently adding only the highest quality staff available, including:

1. Better productivity. Do more with less is the new mantra in today’s business world. Top performing employees learn quicker, see the shortest distance between two points, and understand how to put effective, efficient processes in place. This all adds up to doing more with less.

2. Less stress on the organization. By hiring the cream of the crop, more can be delegated to each employee and therefore reducing the burden on staff. Stress is removed from the few high caliber players and spread across the organization. In typical organizations, 20% of the staff does 80% of the work and everyone is stressed. With a higher quality staff, stress is diluted.

3. Ability to plan more effectively. Once senior leadership understands the ability of a high-performing staff, they don’t have to be bashful with the challenges they plan and delegate. They quickly understand the performance capability of a high quality team.

4. Better quality product. High performers do things efficiently but also do them creatively and accurately. This generates heightened expectations around the product and applications development arena. Higher quality products and applications produce profitability.

5. Better bottom line. No matter whether you are dealing with a profit center or a cost center, high performance staff will cut costs or create revenue in multiples of the average staff.

6. Able to do the undoable. When the business runs into unexpected challenges, the high performers “do what it takes” and create unique solutions, never thought of prior. This creativity produces ROI above and beyond expectations.

7. Lead and manage with less effort. Leadership is often compromised by spending a large amount of time providing oversight. When managing a top performers, oversight can take a back seat to creating vision and strategy and the whole company wins.

With better quality staff, the ability to build a high performing organization becomes a reality. No Manager, Director, VP, or member of Sr. Leadership can be an A player without a team comprised of A players and staff that has a trajectory towards A-level work. A company filled with B+ and A players works very much like a well-tuned engine. It exceeds expectations, produces more efficiently, and demonstrates effectiveness routinely compared to one with a more marginal talent base. Great examples are Apple and Google, their results and growth are always attributed to the quality and caliber of staff.

At Honer and Associates, we understand this, contact us today. We can help you find the top performers necessary to build a higher performing organization.

The Importance of Consciously Hiring

January 15th, 2014

Most organizations unconsciously hire. Setting specific goals for the quality of hiring isn’t given any attention, and without goals for hiring high-quality talent, management teams are left with a typical – although not optimal alternative- to hire qualified talent, possessing appropriate skills, that can do the job. In other words, they interview and hire candidates experienced with necessary skills to do the job that sell themselves in an above average manner.

An unconscious hire is gauged by skills. The job description is the main tool. It lays out what skills and years of experience the person has to have to do the job. So if the job description says that a candidate needs “4 years of this skill” and “7 years of that experience”; these become the focus of screening and interviewing content.

This also indicates a lack of conscious planning within the talent acquisition strategy (if a talent acquisition strategy exists). The job description is a document that addresses the micro part of the role and answers the question: What skills does an employee use when they perform this role? It does not discuss (in much detail):

  • The scope of responsibilities
  • Problems to be solved and goals to be accomplished
  • What success looks like, near and long term
  • The defined hurdles and challenges
  • Attributes and competencies necessary to perform at a superior level and exceed the status quo.

What the candidate “has to have” gets much of the attention – skills that mirror the role and the number of years, type of experience necessary to do the job,etc.

Making a high-quality hire requires giving conscious thought to what a high-caliber or high performing individual looks like. Ask and identify what a successful track record would include, the experiential options that line up for the role, competencies necessary, and the definition of a successful candidate. These are the musts for an effective position profile.

Be proactive; detail the responsibilities of the role – figure out what needs to get done over the next 12-18 months. In addition, picture the environment in 12-18 months given successful performance by the candidate in this role.

Hiring high-quality talent depends on determining the caliber of individual candidates. To select the highest-caliber person – and the best fit for the position – determine what success looks like and the competency required to be successful, beyond years of experience. Spend time identifying the candidate’s past performance profile, their individual caliber and not what skills they possess. Trust that a motivated, high-caliber candidate will learn what skills they need to know to excel in the position, especially if they have done that in the past.

Give thought to how the level of experience for the role is established. Does it happen by going through the role and determining the position’s degree of difficulty? What are the responsibilities and events that must get accomplished? What type of experience, track record, and competencies would a candidate need to excel? Put an accurate (and conscious) position profile together spelling it out. Completed successfully, hiring can be more conscious, proactive and beneficial to all concerned.

At Honer and Associates, we understand how to consciously hire, and we can assist you in finding the high-caliber people for your key positions. So contact us today!