Wanted 'the Perfect Candidate': But, Like the Perfect Spouse, Does He or She Exist?
By Paul Feeney Managing Director, Sanford Rose Associates - Wayne | February 22, 2010
"SHE'S LIKE A RAINBOW," sang the Rolling Stones in their 1967 psychedelic love song. Also like a rainbow are the multi-hued causes of unrealistic requirements for job candidates. For example:
Let's Run It up the Flagpole - One school of thought in hiring is "nothing ventured, nothing gained." Perhaps there really might be a Harvard MBA out there who is willing to join the company for only $60K a year. If we don't try, how can we know we weren't right?
We Don't Really Want to Hire - In some corporate environments these days, making no decision at all is far safer than making the wrong decision. And the best way to avoid a hiring decision is never to find the right candidate for the job. Setting unattainable expectations helps ensure that the hiring process remains exclusionary.
No One Other than I Will Do - Go ahead and take credit for it: you are unique. Therefore, no one else in the universe will have your precise background, experience and qualifications. You can delay the search process indefinitely by insisting on your exact replica. The unanswered question is whether your organization will benefit the most from another you.
HR Can Fill in All the Blanks - In this age of multi-tasking, lots of balls in the air, too many instant messages on the Blackberry and too few hours in the day, what hiring manager has the time to sit down and carefully think about the needs of the job? Better to send a requisition over to Human Resources and let them figure out what matters in the new job. They'll know, won't they?
We Mistake Job Descriptions for People Descriptions - The typical job description does a mighty fine job of describing the job - e.g., manages a department of 17, determines marketing strategy for existing and new products, prepares the annual departmental plan and budget, makes regular reports to the Management Committee, works closely with Product Development and Manufacturing, etc. Unfortunately, that same job description does a lousy job of describing the incumbent or the skills he or she will need for success on the job.