Recruiters often focus on the job description – writing the recruitment advertisement to determine what they expect of candidates. This guides the way in which they operate the first sorting of CVs and, later, evaluation of the applications. But are we sure of the quality of the information that is found in these job descriptions?
What does a recruitment advertisement contain?
When recruiters see these descriptions, they find:
- activities related to the position
- the hierarchal management line
- necessary technical skills (know-how)
- desirable qualities (presentation)
As long as the information remains factual (such as desirable level of education, mastery of languages, professional experience etc) the message is clear and has two benefits.
- Candidates know the requirements for applications and an automatic preselection takes place.
- Recruiters know the elements that allow them to operate reliable preselection.
It is when you get the expected qualities that things get complicated because there are often the same expectations. For example, “Versatile, rigorous and organised, with a sense of initiative, interpersonal skills and teamwork (extract from the first job advertisement found online).” In this case, the setback is two-fold.
- The advertisement is not precise enough and candidates who could be an exact fit for the position do not realise it.
- Recruiters do not have the information to differentiate the most promising candidates.
We might say that this is only a small part of the advertisement and an element that will be factored into the selection process at the end. Yet, the personal qualities will be behind the “job-fit” between the candidate and the job, and it is the job-fit that will be decisive in the candidate’s ability to succeed in the position.
How can job-fit be better identified?
You must first know the determinants of success in the specific position. The best is to study them with a scientific approach, but also to ask questions to further specify the application.
- What do successful people do differently to others in the same position? It is often a way of driving the work or expertise (not directly related to the job) that is not initially thought of.
- What explains the failure of those parties? This can come from three sources.
- A skills gap. Normally we know quite quickly, which is preferable.
- A behavioural problem. This is not necessarily seen at the beginning but becomes a real problem later.
- A problem of motivation. The person has not found the position to be as engaging as expected. This case often causes voluntary departures.
- What will happen when we can tell if someone has succeed or failed on the job? (Answer as precisely as possible).
The answers to these question are a gold mine for a recruiter who hopes to identify and highlight the specificities of the job for which they are recruiting. It is then important to integrate them in recruitment advertisement because candidates who truly identify with the job description invest much more of themselves in the application process. In the same way, it is easier for recruiters to operate a more rational selection among these candidates. It is sometimes regrettable to hear recruiters restrict themselves and not ask these questions because of time. Thus, we touch the primary interest of their mission: anticipate an individual’s capacity to succeed, in a given position and culture.