Chris Havrilla, HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board Member

Chris Havrilla, HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board Member

“Study humans, not best practices.”

My friend and colleague, Jason Lauritsen said this at a recent conference. I wanted to stand up and cheer. I love it because it’s short and sweet, and extremely powerful. I want to put it on a rubber wristband for every Recruiter, Hiring Manager, hell, every company – so I can pop it every time they lose sight of the fact we are dealing with people. (I wonder if they make wristbands big enough to go around a building?)

We hire people — not commodities, job titles, stereotypes, or profiles.

Think about it.

A job description is written. It gives the requirements for knowledge, skills, and experience. Maybe the more evolved companies include responsibilities, performance criteria, or some information designed to promote the company.

A resume is written. The exact same information is exchanged.

We still haven’t figured out that job descriptions and resumes are not enough — that there is lots of important information missing from the process.

We have been talking about the War for Talent for almost two decades. But relying only on resumes and job descriptions is like shooting cannonballs into the ocean. Recruiting keeps trying to change the weapons – screening tools, assessments, big data, analytics, social etc. That is a good start, but we still have to use them the right way, and for the right reasons.

We also need to realize jobs have changed. There are talent shortages in many industries. With the recession, many jobs have become hybrid roles where one person takes on more than one job. And technology is changing the way we work faster than the job descriptions can keep up. We need to give up “replacing” people and take a bigger view about both workers and work.

I heard Melanie Holmes of ManpowerGroup recently talk about talent mismatches, instead of talent shortages. She talked about finding a “teachable fit” – and hiring or training those with the aptitude and attitude to do a job.

Jennifer McClure also spoke recently about companies being challenged to keep filling jobs with the exact same people, skills, experience, and industry as well – and the need to focus more on traits and abilities.  She cited a recent CEO study by IBM that says the critical traits are collaborative, communicative, creative, flexible people we can teach.  YES!!!

So how do we figure out what traits, aptitudes, attitudes, and motivators we need to find in potential candidates? We need to get to know candidates on a very different, and human, level.

Here are some ways to find the right people instead of just a match between resumes and job descriptions.

For Managers

  • Own who you are as a company.  Are you the wild, wild west? Are you restructuring or changing direction often? Are you a structured, formal environment – stable and static?  Do you have core values?  Are these values real and obvious throughout your organization, or do you just talk about them to sound good? Different people succeed in different environments. Know who you are so you can assess appropriately.
  • Own who you are as a team.  Same questions as above – but now it’s time to get even more granular. What are the team dynamics? Who are the players? How would someone new coming in interact with existing employee? What role would they play?  See beyond tasks and responsibilities to how people function together.  Know who you are so you can assess appropriately.
  • Own who you are as a manager.  Who are you willing to take an interest in?  If you are going to teach, develop, challenge, shape, and promote your people, you had better be interested in them, their well-being, and how challenged and happy they are. It takes time and commitment to train and develop employees. Figure out your own strengths and resources so you can build the right team. Know who you are so you can assess appropriately.

To start getting Recruiting right, all of this information should be shared with candidates so they can also decide if they fit and are willing to grow in the job.

For Candidates:

  • Own who you are as a candidate. What motivates you? Industry, company size, company stability, location, type of role, commute, money, challenge, org structure, type of manager?  What are your abilities?  What traits stand out in who you are and what you do?  What things make you happy with your boss/team/company?  What doesn’t? Take the time to figure out what you really want and what you are willing to work for. Know yourself, so you can find the right job.

Work is more than a job description. People are so much more than their resumes. It’s time to look beyond matching skills and experience and work toward building teams that work well together and can grow and develop with change.



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