Why Do They Need That? | No BS Hiring Advice

If you are in HR or for that matter a hiring manager, I believe it is a worthwhile question to ask as you look at a job description.

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I'm Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter, the head coach for JobSearchCoachingHQ.com and NoBSCoachingAdvice.com. If you're an HR, I want you to start having helpful conversations with the people that you serve. I want to start off with job descriptions as being one of those helpful places.

I've been telling Job Hunters for a while that most job descriptions were about 80% accurate. I say that because, most of the time, the way a job description is conjured up, is someone gives notice, the hiring manager calls or emails you and says to you, "Hey, Jeff just gave notice. You got the job description you used for us to hire him?" You reachinto your system, and pull out that job description, and they never edit it, right. Weknow that's the case in most cases; maybe your managers are different and you actually turn around and make them do some work. But if you're like most HR people, you don't have the time to do that. And, frankly, you don't have the inclination. You are going to make them do the work and do the screening wherever possible.

Now, here's what I'd like you to start pushing back on. Let's say you've got this job description that's been used for a while, or it's a brand new job description, and you're sitting down with them, because you're going to do some screening. I want you to start asking this question. "Why do they need that?" And "how often are they going to use that?"

See, a lot of job descriptions are this huge wish list and job hunters ask, "Why do I need to know that? I'm going to use it once every two years. Why was that necessary?" And no one ever ties the bow for them. For you, as an HR professional, and for you as a hiring manager you know you'd have such a better pool of talent, if you eliminated some of the nonsense or moved it into the preferred category, and treated it as a preference, rather than as a requirement.

Treating it as a requirement just narrows the scope and makes it harder for you to fill positions. That takes time and effort on your part. It takes you away from what you really need to be doing in order to provide effective service to an external or internal customer, right. Better to get 90% and train for the remaining 10, to get 90% and play catch up later on and get to work, rather than constantly pulling your people out of their work situations and going, "Hey, could you talk to this person for a minute, I think they have a lot of what we're looking for," and not provide them with any guidance. That's another problem. But I digress.

Start with getting a tighter job description from the hiring manager and challenge them and just ask, "Why do they really need that? How often are they going to be doing (fill in the blank)?


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1500 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. JobSearchTV.com was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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