How to Avoid Hiring the Wrong People

It might seem obvious, but clear and accurate job descriptions set the stage for good hires and satisfied placements.

April 6, 2017 – Constructing a company’s recruitment process almost always begins with the clarity, accuracy, and compelling nature of job descriptions. These documents, which formally detail the responsibilities, skills, and competencies a hiring manager seeks, lay the foundation for how efficiently the entire recruitment process will run.

Hiring managers use job descriptions to help clarify the needed role, while recruiters use them to set their sourcing and screening strategies. Candidates, of course, rely on them to ensure their skills match those sought by the hiring manager.

Unfortunately, many organizations are challenged to get this first step right. According to a new talent advisory benchmark report, ‘Let’s Talk: Focused Conversation Topics to Supercharge Recruiting Success’ by Allegis Group, perception gaps exist between employers and candidates in how effective each thinks the other is in managing this stage of the recruitment process. Compared to candidates, for example, employers are much more likely to think their job descriptions are always accurate (50 percent versus 35 percent of candidates) and are always appropriately detailed (44 percent versus 34 percent).

This misalignment creates an environment where employers risk hiring the wrong people. In fact, the Allegis survey found that seven in 10 employers said that employees are sometimes hired who lack the required skills. Employers reporting this outcome were significantly less likely to agree that their organizations’ job descriptions are always clear and easily understood (39 percent versus 61 percent), as well as appropriately detailed (35 percent versus 58 percent), compared to employers who say that employees who lack the necessary skills for the job are never hired.

All of this can negatively impact recruitment downstream. Employers who have hired people with skewed skill sets are more likely to have issues with the retention of quality talent (67 percent somewhat / significant issue versus 50 percent) and the amount of time it takes for an employee to be productive post-placement because the candidate did not have the skills needed (57 percent versus 40 percent).

Ensuring Expectations and Success

High performing recruitment organizations are 1.3 times more likely to ensure job expectations are realistic and 1.4 times more likely to ensure job expectations are clear. That’s important, considering accurate and clear job descriptions significantly impact a new hire’s success. When job expectations are aligned to the original job description, talent is nearly twice as satisfied with the recruitment process.

To write meaningful descriptions, consider relevant phrases and titles that resonate with candidates and accurately define the job. Convey the role’s clear purpose and its connection to business objectives. Set action-based outcomes and realistic performance expectations. Ensure job titles are self-explanatory and identify the role’s hierarchy clearly, including phrases about working relationships and reporting structures.

Viewing a job through an actionable lens ensures accuracy and completeness while also facilitating smooth expectation-setting with candidates. According to the report, high performing recruitment organizations are 3.3 times more likely to create job descriptions in tandem with 30-/60-/90-day plans. Only through the diligent process of revising and rewriting these two documents simultaneously can hiring managers ensure proper alignment and feel confident enough to then approach and engage a recruiter to initiate a candidate search.


Candidate’s Perspective

Organizations need talented employees to drive strategy and achieve goals, but with an improving economy finding and recruiting the right people is becoming more difficult. While the severity of the issue varies among organizations, industries and geographies, it’s clear that the changing global economy has created a demand for new jobs, new skills and new capabilities – and organizations are scrambling to find the best workers to fill these positions ….. Here’s some further reading from Hunt Scanlon Media.

What Candidates Want. Shifting Priorities for Job Seekers
Five years ago, benefits topped their list, today it’s culture and tomorrow it’s flexibility. A new report looks at the shifting priorities of job candidates. Here’s a look at some of the changing priorities of job candidates as we move through 2017.


High performing recruitment organizations always consider the candidate’s perspective when assembling job descriptions. They demonstrate this commitment by doing the following:

Include an Employee Value Proposition (EVP). High performing recruitment organizations are 2.6 times more likely to include clear EVPs in the job description, driving the second largest impact on candidate satisfaction with the recruitment process (32 percent impact) behind compensation. According to candidates, the most important aspects in a position include compensation (73 percent), culture/environment (49 percent), job responsibilities (46 percent), advancement opportunity (43 percent), skills development (31 percent), and schedule flexibility (27 percent). These figures adjust slightly when sourcing freelancers as they place more importance on job responsibilities (49 percent of total mentions versus 42 percent of traditionally employed candidates) and less importance on advancement opportunities (38 percent versus 46 percent).

Stand Out. Technology has made it easier for talent acquisition professionals to identify and contact potential candidates frequently. The survey found that candidates who are actively seeking a job receive 11.2 calls or emails per month. When candidates receive this level of solicitation, a strong EVP helps to elevate one opportunity over another.

Share Insights on Company Culture. Interestingly, less than one third of employers believe they provide insight into their culture within their job descriptions (31 percent always). However, candidates who say job descriptions always provide insight into company culture are nearly twice as likely to be very satisfied with the recruitment process (64 percent “very satisfied” when “always” versus 33 percent “very satisfied” when not “always”).

Culture is often the intangible success factor, but it doesn’t have to be. Job descriptions that showcase cultural values in action attract employees who have the best chances of long term success. For example, successful talent acquisition organizations construct descriptions that articulate the company’s purpose and mission, as well as what the company values. Affirming that employees are the company’s greatest asset or that a job offers opportunities for career growth and the chance to make a difference through diverse thinking resonates with job seekers.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media

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