How Your Job Description May Be Excluding Potential Candidates

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kicking people outAn essential part of recruiting the right person for your job opening is writing the best job description possible. While the objective is to describe the ideal candidate to successfully fill the position, it’s a fine line between describing a superhuman who has all of the skills you think you need and excluding high potential candidates with the right aptitude and attitude become your next rockstar performer.

“Everybody’s heard the complaints about recruiting lately. Even with unemployment hovering around 9%, companies are grousing that they can’t find skilled workers, and filling a job can take months of hunting,” said Peter Cappelli in a post on the Wall Street Journal. “Employers are quick to lay blame… But I believe that the real culprits are the employers themselves. With an abundance of workers to choose from, employers are demanding more of job candidates than ever before. They want prospective workers to be able to fill a role right away, without any training or ramp-up time.” Almost nobody is going to step into a role the first day and know your company applications, procedures and systems. So, find good people who are the right fit candidates, and train them for success.

Here are some ways your job description might be excluding the skilled candidates you’re looking for:

Requiring a specific number of years of experience for your job might exclude candidates based on their age. For instance, a young professional might be a good fit for your opening in terms of certain skills, but it’s unlikely that they will have all the skills you list in a job description. Similarly, a more experienced worker may have all the skills you are listing, which may have taken more than 0-3 years of experience to attain. It can be difficult for someone making a career transition to fulfill the requirement for years of experience if your expectation is set too high.

In order to avoid age discrimination in your recruiting practices, “construct your job description based on essential functions/qualifications of the job,” suggests a post on HRTMS. “Consider using terms like ‘extensive experience’ instead of ‘10 years’ experience’; this way, the focus will be on skill and not on age.”

Failing to break down comprehensive job descriptions can make recruiting for the position much more difficult. Although your previous employee might have single-handedly held down responsibilities for what was actually three positions, recognize that it will be difficult to find someone new with the exact same combination of skills and qualifications as your previous worker. Additionally, it will exclude young professionals who may have only obtained the requisite experience or education in one area. They might still be a good fit for the most critical elements of the job if it were only broken back down into separate logical roles.

Avoid excluding talented candidates by paying careful attention to the above practices when recruiting for a new opening. How do you avoid excluding the right candidate when writing your job descriptions?

By Tony Morrison