I meet with Hiring Managers who describe the person they want to hire. They describe someone who has experience in exactly what they do and who could add value the minute they walk in the door. In some cases, it works. In the majority of cases though, it does not.
Let’s face it – most people were not born with the experience they have – they learn it! So, what should Hiring Manager truly be looking for? They should be looking for candidates with current/relevant experience in what they need in order to accomplish the short and longer term goals.
Example: You need to hire a Controller for a technology company. Someone who understands how software licensing works. What do you truly need; someone average who has the EXACT experience or a superstar who has been a Controller and who has been successful in multiple industries?
You need the superstar!
When you set out to find someone, you THINK you need the one with your specific industry experience, but in fact, you don’t. And in limiting your search, you are more than likely missing out on some excellent talent.
Cast a wide net – find the best of the best – the candidates who have appropriate experience and have had enjoyed ongoing success throughout their career. These candidates will add value – they have proven they can do it!
Take a look at the job descriptions your business is posting. Are they interesting? Would someone who is not actively looking for a job possibly submit their candidacy?
Some businesses have awesome job descriptions.
Most have dull job descriptions.
We know we want to attract the best candidates.
We know we want to be perceived as an employer of choice.
So why would we write dull job descriptions?
We use Uber, not taxis. We stay at AirBnB, not hotels. We rely on the general public to post news versus waiting for the news networks. We stare at the home phone when it rings wondering who could possibly be calling on it…and we make a mental note to have it disconnected all together.
In many ways, we are very 2015.
And then we have our job descriptions. Not very 2015. Stuck in the past.
Take a look at your job descriptions. Am I right? Are you drawn to the positions and can you see people pouncing on the opportunities? If not, change you strategy….write job descriptions that reflect the realities of today’s market. You will attract better candidates.
- Be specific about what the job entails – mention the short term priorities and longer term goals
- Show prospective candidates what they would gain by being successful in the role
- Unless absolutely required, don’t include number of years of experience or a specific degree. It limits the pool of prospective candidates and puts up a barrier between you, and possibly, the best candidates
- Consider why someone might leave their current role for the position, then write the job description that would entice them
When recruiting, we are looking for the best candidates. Often these candidates are not looking for work. In order to entice them to consider the position, start by defining it as something compelling.
We tell candidates to write CVs to show they are ‘current’, not dated.
Employers have to write job descriptions that show the business is ‘current’, not dated.
If we write job descriptions the way they have been written for decades, which many businesses do, we are suggesting to prospective candidates that we are not current. Clearly not the intent.
This is an easy fix. Try it. You will see results.
Historically, it has been called the “cover letter”. Whether it is a formal letter or a brief introduction in the body of an email with the attachment of your resume, in my opinion, it is important and will set you apart from other candidates, provided it is done correctly. If you are applying for a position, it should be because you truly see yourself as a fit. As such, you want the hiring manager to see the same thing. Explain this in the cover;
- Refer to the position specifically
- Pick highlights of the position description and state what relevant experience you have – stay high level (the CV will provide more detail and the interview even more…)
- Make it obvious that you are a suitable candidate
- Keep it brief
Don’t make the cover letter about you, make it about the position and reference the experience you have relative to what the employer is looking for.
If you prepare a proper cover/introduction, you will increase your chances of getting the attention of the hiring manager. While it won’t guarantee an interview, it adds value to your profile. Your competition is not doing it – although they should be – so in the meantime, take advantage and run with it.
An employer’s goal is to pay as little as possible, within reason.
An employee’s goal is to earn as much as possible, within reason.
Getting the salary right is about being ‘within reason’. Employers should know the market value of a resource before they set out to hire. Employees should know what they are worth on the open market – this is especially true for employees who have spent a long time with one employer. Sometimes an employee is worth more to their current employer, given how well they know the business, than they might be to a new employer. Employees, as candidates for a new position, need to think this through as they consider their salary expectation.
On the flip side, employees may be under-paid with their current employer and may have an opportunity to catch up in a new position. One way to address this in an interview would be for a candidate to state upfront what they are currently earning and then to add ‘I know I am underpaid based on my experience and I am looking for ‘x’ in my next position’. As long as the number is ‘within reason’ there should be no problem getting it.
A word of caution to all candidates who, when asked what their current salary is, say “my salary is ‘x’ but for the right opportunity I would take less”. As soon as you suggest you are open to less, it is almost a guarantee you will be offered less. There is no need to undervalue yourself if your salary expectation is ‘within reason’. If you would take less, just imagine how long it might take you to get back to what you were earning before. Do not offer to take less. When asked what your salary expectation is, state it and be comfortable with the number given your awareness of what you are worth.
I have met employers who want to pay unreasonably low salaries based on the experience they are looking for.
I have met candidates who want unreasonably high salaries based on their experience.
Get the salary right – keep it simple and within reason.