Crazy Job Postings

Posted February 17, 2016 by Mary McGinley

We’ve all seen them – or maybe even have written them. Those job descriptions that have a list of ideal traits that an employer desires but may be difficult to find – and all at a price that most would-be applicants would be hesitant to consider.

One such advertisement written by career coach, Nancy Collamer invented for a 2014 article that appeared in Forbes magazine entitled “Impossible Job Postings”, looked like this:

“Progressive employer seeks Harvard-trained neuroscientist and beauty pageant winner. Must be fluent in Mandarin and skilled at tribal basket weaving. Minimum of 10 years’ experience working for high-tech companies. Salary: mid-30s.”

Such postings, which have become more and more prevalent in recent years are both demanding and offer little pay. She is quick to note that today hiring managers have become irrational in their expectations when they are looking for a new candidate to hire for a position. These qualifications which are more like wish-lists can be frustrating for employers and potential candidates because the managers seeking to fill the positions just don’t understand the market realities, what is normal in terms of salaries for those employees and how long it might take to get such a candidate.

In his book, “Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs (Wharton Digital Press, 2012), University of Pennsylvania Wharton School professor Peter Cappelli, refers to this nearly-impossible-to-snag candidate as “the unicorn.” He calls it that because many industry recruiters lament that hiring managers can be unrealistic about finding the “perfect” candidate for a job. Like the Unicorn, such a perfect candidate can be elusive if not downright impossible to find.

Getting the Right Talent for the Job

According to Tom Darrow, SHRM-SCP, is founder and principal of Atlanta-based Talent Connections LLC and Career Spa LLC, companies, like everyone else in our society of instant gratification want to have ‘talent on demand.’ The problem with this, according to Darrow, is that companies and educational institutions have fallen behind in hiring or educated candidates who can adequately meet these demands.

Companies will typically demand to have candidates set before them with both the extensive qualifications they are seeking at a rate of pay that is middling and the ability to begin almost on the spot. Cappelli says that there are a couple of reasons for this unrealistic set of expectations on the part of employers.

“One is because the job market has been so bad for so long that employers have gotten used to being very picky and being able to get what they want, more or less,” he said. “The other is that hiring managers are under lots of pressure to move quickly and to avoid spending money on training.”

The key is to manage expectations. If more than one person or even a committee is putting together the list of what is expected of a potential candidate, sometimes those ideal qualities can get out of line of what is actually available in the marketplace of viable candidates. It stands to reason that the “perfect” or ‘Unicorn’ isn’t going to be found because they simply don’t exist.

Cappelli acknowledges that “no one likes to be told that what they believe is wrong.” This can be especially true of hiring managers. If there are any current employees that are doing the same job that a job listing calls for, then it may be possible to eliminate those qualifications reduced or removed from the posting for a potential new hire.

Recruiters can also show the hiring manager the resumes of what the recruiter considers to be solid candidates for the job being advertised and see if a compromise to be reached and expectations for the new hire to become more realistic. Recruiters may also have to show hiring managers whet the going salary rate is for candidates in similar companies and fields to bring them more into line with market realities.

Simply trying to sell a hiring manager or company HR department that the Unicorn just does not exist is not very effective. “Instead, show them,” Darrow said. “Present a varied slate of candidates who are within the parameters that the company is seeking. Show what the market will bear—top to bottom and side to side. Ask the company to rank the priorities of the skills and competencies that are necessary. Data is the path to convincing, not words.”

At EinsteinHR, we know that it’s important that your company find the right candidate to fill the job. That’s why we will be there to help you find the best candidate and help you in writing your job advertisements, as well as reviewing qualified candidates in a timely manner. We know how to attract the right people and can help you get them in place as soon as possible.

Hiring a qualified candidate is an investment of both time and money. We can help ensure that you get the most for your money and improve your chances of getting just the right candidate for the job. Contact us today at 770-962-1700 to find out how we can help.