Published: May 17, 2019 | Comments
"Why do you want this job?" It's a bad cliché of the interview process. By
now, every candidate should know "I need money" isn't the best way to
answer that question. Most hiring managers would be quick to disqualify
someone based on that response. What if a candidate asks you, "why should I
want this job?" What would you say? Are you able to make a compelling case
without mentioning compensation?
No one wants to hire an employee desperate for any job, but if we
can't clearly articulate who we are and why our work is important we have
no chance of engaging recruits on a deeper level. We expect candidates to
flatter us with unique and meaningful reasons why our jobs would be the
best thing to ever happen to them. Can we impress them in the same way?
Employees need money, but they want purpose. While "answering phones" is
technically a purpose, it's not a very inspiring one. How does answering
phones help the organization? What's the organization's mission? How does
that make the world better or help others? We typically don't have deep
conversations around these questions during the interview and recruitment
process. No wonder employee engagement is consistently so low; we're barely
engaging them from the beginning!
In order to attract the best employees, we need to communicate beyond the
economics of exchanging labor for money.
Clearly articulating who you are is not a simple or easy task. It's hard
enough for individuals, and seemingly impossible for organizations. Many
business have a half-baked mission statement hanging on posters throughout
the office. This mission is generally outdated, unrelatable, and severely
disconnected from organizations' day-to-day operations. How many employees
can repeat it verbatim, or even hit all of the main points, without
cheating? A manager once told me, "you don't need to know our mission, you
just need to be able to find it in case an auditor asks." How strong their
Most companies advertise jobs with some boilerplate organizational summary
that wouldn't hold up if the author were sworn to tell the whole truth.
There's a place for good marketing, but employees won't stay if the job
isn't what they expected. In order for you both to make good decisions,
recruits need a complete and accurate picture of the organization (like
what you'd ask of them). A well-articulated culture, vision, and mission
helps guide us internally and explain ourselves externally.
Know The Job
Job descriptions are almost universally criticized for being unrealistic,
unrepresentative, overreaching, and just plain bad. When the typical advice
is to apply if you meet 60% of the criteria listed, we're doing something
wrong. Being overzealous won't elevate the quality of applications you
receive, but it might scare away applicants who are self-aware and truthful
about their shortcomings.
There's probably no field with worse habits than information technology.
It's common to load up even specialized job descriptions with the whole
kitchen sink of required expertise and software experience. If you are
lucky enough to find an applicant who meets the all of these unnecessary
requirements, they'll probably laugh in your face when you make them an
offer based on a much lower set of expectations (and budget).
When it comes to job descriptions, less is more. The clearer job
advertisements are, the better chance you'll have of attracting candidates
that are interested in the work and qualified to perform it. Explain the
job in plainly, set realistic expectations how time in the job will be
spent and which skills are most necessary.
Know Your Applicants
Just as a refined customer experience can increase revenue and reduced cost
to serve, a refined applicant experience can increase effectiveness and
reduce costs of employment. How applicants feel throughout the process can
affect their performance in interviews, their interest in working for the
organization, and the likelihood and salary at which they will accept
extended job offers. We can all think of better ways to use our resources,
so anything you can do to streamline recruiting helps.
If you're hiring a lot of employees on a regular basis, it may be
appropriate to survey them along different points in the journey. This
could expose confusion, anxiety, and inefficiencies that make the
process less effective. For small organizations, a simple phone
conversation or invitation by email can elicit helpful insights into
the candidates' perspective of the process. While respondents might be
a little biased by the outcome, it shows respect to listen to their
perspective and there are still opportunities to learn.