hiring, job ad, recruitment, HR

Why being honest about job requirements pays off

by Gabi Anderson Courtney

I am the first to admit, some positions are very hard to recruit for. The reasons can vary; not enough people are qualified for it, the physical location of the job, the hours of work required, it can even be the organisation that is a deterrent (for example, some candidates view small companies unfavourably, due to no possible internal promotion possibilities in the future).

The truth is, to fill a position, sometimes you have to look nationally or globally while bearing the relocation costs. Sometimes you have to offer slightly more than you originally planned, either financially, or in benefits, and sometimes you have to revise the whole job that you are recruiting for. But never ever offer the job for someone who is unqualified, and always, always be honest about what your expectations are in regards to the position.

Once in my career I have taken over from a HR Manager at a company, who, as I found out later, had no qualifications in HR whatsoever, started her career as an administration assistant having the job offered to her as she knew someone at the organisation, and worked her way up to being HR Manager within three years, as she was excellent at agreeing with her direct boss and helping her out when she needed a hand... and simple admin tasks. I have realised how underqualified and inadequate she was at handover, as her response to everything was; “You’ll find it in my emails”. She expected me to go through her thousands of emails every time I needed an answer, instead of doing a proper handover. Mortifying, isn’t it?

It all comes down to being brutally honest when it comes to the requirements of the job. Some employers are trying to make the job sound better than what it is, simply to be able to find someone, or even not mentioning crucial details of the requirements.

If you need someone to do overtime on a regular basis, make sure that you advise this at the job interview. If frequent travel is a must, you need to say, so people who are not prepared to do it are aware. I believe a thorough job description and details of responsibilities should be passed on to every candidate who is interviewed; these details will not always fit into the job ad, but need to be clarified before someone is offered the position and before that person accepts the offer.

People will resign very quickly if they find that they cannot do their job adequately, or even worse, you will have to terminate their employment and you will be back where you started.

You should also advise on who the position will have to report to; it should not happen in this day and age, but some people still have an issue with reporting to someone younger than they are, or rarely in some cultures, men will have an issue with reporting to a woman. Do not change your stand on this, but advise and let the person decide if they still want to proceed with their application once they have the relevant information.

You should also tell people some smaller details, as some things might be dealbreakers for some people, for example, if there is no on-site parking offered. Some people live in areas with no public transport and will need to use their car to get to work.

Generally, give as much information as possible, and while some details could be up for negotiation, do not sway from the cornerstones of the position, like where the position is based and who the candidate will have to report to. On the long run, you will pay a very high price if you let the candidate dictate all details of the job.