It´s time to get honest here, as an employer, how realistic are your job descriptions when you are recruiting for an open position? Do you only list the core skills or is your job description pages and pages long listing every possible skill out there, being a native trilingual and having 10 years of experience in this specific field? Because it seems that job requirements have turned more and more unrealistic over the years and companies are making long lists of must-have skills and experience thereby making it indeed almost impossible to fill this position.
Before this trend started, a vacancy usually included some core skills that were required and in the recruitment process the employer would look for those core skills, cultural fit with the company, learning potential and a good attitude. The rest would happen through training. On the contrary, nowadays, no training should be necessary to find your perfect candidate, employers just expect them to be out there and want to hire this “unicorn-candidate”. And thus, employers create these very extensive job descriptions with loads of requirements that the candidate should comply with. And if you look closely at all these requirements, it might actually sound more like 2 or 3 jobs instead of 1! Only the perfect candidate is good enough, with many years of experience, fluency in various languages and a long list of skills.
Well, there is bad news and there is good news. The bad news is that those unicorns usually don´t exist out there in the market. The good news is that you can train employees so they turn into your perfect candidate. Think about your most promising internal employees, were they hired like this? Were they as skilled back then as they are right now? Probably not! They likely developed themselves on the job, had the right training and grew into these high-potential employees that they are today. With a little training and support, great new hires and existing employees can easily develop new skills and competencies. If you focus too much on cost-to-hire and want to avoid training costs to keep this KPI as low as possible, you might actually be missing out on some very good candidates. So, let´s apply this mindset you have with your employees to new hires as well and get rid of the huge list of unrealistic requirements when hiring new employees because by not doing so you are probably making it impossible to fill that position.
In addition, it often also helps to take a critical look at your company. Another common scenario is that a candidate does actually tick all the boxes on the requirements list but is then discarded because they are not “cool enough” or similar reasons. Well, what if your company is not “cool enough” either? You might think as an employer you´re equal to Google, but to external candidates this might look completely different. Therefore, you also need to be realistic about your company in combination with the expectations you have for candidates. The view you have of your company might be completely different than the one candidates have. So, if you want to hire more experienced employees or increase your graduate intake or any other recruitment objective, think about how your company is perceived by those collectives and if there might be something that needs to change in order to make that goal more realistic.
Do you think your job requirements are realistic or might they actually be impossible to fill? We would love to read your thoughts in the comments section!