Where Are All the Qualified Candidates?


Many employers find the hiring process similar to a night at the casino.  The outcome is completely based on chance.  When unemployment is low, this is magnified tenfold.  When unemployment is moderate, the experience is similar.  Often, they wait for weeks or even months to receive qualified candidate resumes then feel forced to “settle” for someone without the right skills.

To illustrate, I want to share a true story.  Recently, while shopping a candidate with a potential client, I had my own frustrating experience with the hiring process.  I spent a significant amount of time reviewing the role the client had provided, mapping candidate experience to ensure I had a strong fit.  When I called the client and shared what I thought was a great resume, I got an immediate response.  It was an emphatic no!  The client said the candidate didn’t have a particular skill that was critical to the role.  The role they described in the rejection didn’t sound anything like the position I had been given.

overwhelmedAs I sat scratching my head, I began to review the role again.  I couldn’t find the skill listed anywhere on the posting.  I finally resorted to searching the document for the keyword.  I found it listed exactly once, at the bottom, in the middle of a three-line dot point under “Other Desired Skills.” I almost burst out laughing when I saw this.  Why would the client require a critical skill, but only list it as a minor afterthought at the bottom of the posting?

After a few days, I decided to do a little more digging.  I quickly discovered multiple postings for the exact same role at this client.  I found five in all.  Each had only the title and a few trivial wording changes.  The mystery was solved.  Either this was a cut and paste error with the wrong title, or the client simply hadn’t spent any time to develop a meaningful post.  Regardless, fate was sealed for this role.  Without a clear view of the desired outcome, I wasn’t ever going to meet the client’s needs.

A quality hiring process starts with a thoughtful and well written job posting.  If the posting is poor, it almost guarantees the hiring process willBullseye be long and difficult, with little to no satisfaction with the outcome for anyone involved.  The same is true for posting a stock template or reusing an old role with only minor revisions.  Without a clear and accurate target, recruiters and staffing agencies will never hit the mark.  And candidates that do find their way into the hiring process are likely to be unhappy as well.

I get it.  We’re all busy.  We never have enough time in the day.  But, remember this.  A good position description is the equivalent of counting cards.  It takes effort to do it well, but it will significantly increase your odds of success.  And, in the end, the hiring process is less likely to feel like a trip to Vegas.  Why not give it a try?