Tuesday, November 1, 2011

WM #14: Hiring Managers: What they are looking for?

My husband retired from the Navy two weeks ago. As of today he has been looking for work for two months. Because of the BS going on between the Democrats and Republicans over jobs and budgets, a job that would have secured my husbands dignity and overall view of post Navy life would have been rosy! But alas, the two jobs he interviewed for dried up because of the political pissing contest that is going on in D.C.

What I find amazing is a recent blog I read by Jason Seldon (My blog is Profersonal) about the current critical shortage of employees reported by some organizations. Now this really surprises me with millions of often high-level, qualified, and competent people (like my beloved spouse) that are out there. According to Jason, a recent Career Advisory Board study done by DeVry University reports that the skills that employers are looking for are absent from the available candidates looking for work. According to the survey of hiring mangers, 86% of them felt that the candidates did not have the skills their company were looking for. These skills are:

  1. Strategic perspective
  2. High integrity
  3. Global outlook
  4. Strong base work ethic
  5. Dependable and accountability
So the first thing that popped into my brain was "DUH! NO kidding, really!?" If these employers are talking to only fresh out of school college students, I can see where they may be struggling in getting a valuable read on candidates for these characteristics but from seasoned employees who come from various walks of life and perspective in the United States? Really? I would suggest they need to ask the right questions and not base their conclusions on an electronic copy of a resume or a 30 minute telephone interview. 

First of all - what is their filtering criteria to get folks into their office or on the telephone? Is it a HR generalist or recruiter that likely does not have a degree in business and fail to recognize these requirements and attributes correctly. Or are managers using some fancy wham-o-din software program to select key words that any idiot can strategically place into their word document uploaded to the company web site? Granted, I know there are a trillion applicants for every single job but really, figure out what your software is missing by actually selecting a random sample of resumes and looking at them. 

Second, spend some time with the folks that you have selected (call around and find out who hasn't applied, networking works both ways) and device a few short questions and scenarios that enable you to gain insight on someones knowledge of strategy. "Strategic perspective" is tough for professional strategist; it's a lot like Philosophy and requires some pretty high level thinking  to articulate so don't expect someone to really understand what that means unless you clearly understand it in the context of your organization and how you EXPECT a potential new hire to articulate it. In other words, was the candidate able to search out your organizational strategy (Internet, company brochure, sign in the lobby) and understand it. Many organizations don't even have a clear strategy so if you can't articulate it - how can a potential new employee provide perspective? 

Finally, remember job searching is extremely stressful - especially for someone scared to death NOT to get the job because then they have to go out and beg for money from their parents to make it to the next interview and unemployment check. This is a crazy time and everyone should be trying to work together to get our economy jumped started again. Businesses have to start recognizing that they have an obligation to hire and sustain growth but also to at least prepare themselves to interview constructively and without intimidation. Slow down, take some time to prepare, give the candidate an opportunity to try and fit in to your organization. 

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