Hiring Is No Word Count Exercise in Real Life

Looking for a job can be tiring, hiring people is an energy drain too. It’s all procedures, word counts and instead of feeling like dating - what it should be like - it feels more like spinning that hamster wheel of yours faster and faster.

Well, of course it does not have to be like that. Still, something is off with the hiring business.
When listening to an AWS startup podcast about finding people for startups I was reminded of what. (It’s not limited to Startups, to take that away.)

Such as:

Job descriptions keep you too often left puzzled and the recruiting doesn’t make it any better

Articulating the “requirements” for a job is difficult. It literally almost always feels like there is only a remote connection between the job and its description. That is not so much of a surprise if you consider that rarely any requirement is captured correctly.
If you ever ran an IT project you know the consequences of requirements captured incorrectly. Let’s just say there are few happy ends with these.
Why would I even dare indicate that there’s a problem?
Well logically there have to be problems with the way things work - just think about how big the divide usually is between the people who articulate their demand like the “hiring managers”, the people who publish that demand and the people doing the prequalification looking to fulfil the demand, in other terms the people from “HR”.
This is not a fault game at play here, of course you need to split up tasks. And not everybody can be an expert in everything.
Ironically enough nevertheless the people with the demand, the ones actually looking for people, are the ones that end up investing the least time looking for people.
The higher the demand, the less time would they spend on a task that is obviously vital for breaking the vicious circle they are in - not enough people, not enough time to do just anything but running the hamster wheel.

How to crack this? I guess what should rather happen than providing check lists that are sort of interchangeable is expressing what the job setup is all about, what the challenges are and what is important to you and what core beliefs you carry. That’s your little sales pitch there, let the candidates respond to it and judge later. Don’t ask for the whole vita, don’t exclude candidates because they do not match a rigid schema.

Surprise and be open to be surprised. What about that?

And why should this be cool with anybody, remind me again?

What am I in for again?
Who wants to be in a position where little new tricks can be learnt and possibilities to advance your career, at least if you want to, are scarce?
People you want to work with certainly not. And “working with” is key here, not “working for” - you can choose to be a leader but if you are then your people come first, not you and nothing else.
Otherwise you are a sponsor at least and should leave leading to somebody better qualified.

So what to do then to advertise yourself as employer, or a good “dating partner” to stick to that analogy?

You don’t have to come up with all the perks of a Google but in return for responsibility why not grant freedom to explore something new and allow your people to discover themselves and what they can do.
Let ‘em showcase their work and themselves to the world in conferences, have think tanks, hackathons, let them go wild. Very likely there will be discoveries that can be put right back into your company.
Once you know how chatbots work you can use them everywhere, right? So don’t be that darn rigid and “result oriented” which translates to inhumane. People are at their best when they feel being part of something bigger.
An empty task box and a monthly reward for that will not get you there.

Last but not least another thing that will not get you there. Selecting candidates because they won a word count game in their CV for all the words you expected to have in it.
Give candidates a chance because it feels right - and the attitude seems right.
(NB: Counting words is the “Hello world” of the Big Data world. Hiring is not a Hadoop tutorial, however - you can do better than that.)