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Coaching Employers on Unrealistic Job Descriptions

Recently we received a call from a long time client, asking for advice. They were short staffed on their IT team and opening up a new position.

“I’d like someone with Windows/Linux server skills, know some code to help the developers with automation, but also work with the data in our ERP.”

(You probably just put this guy into the “unrealistic hiring manager” bucket, but this was a teaching moment.)

Here’s how I responded.

“I could start sending résumés of people I think are right, then by the 4th or 5th interview, everyone’s frustrated and wanting to reassess. Forget about the skills you’re looking for and let’s reverse engineer this thing.

What do you envision this person accomplishing for you over the first 12 months?

Look at all the projects on your whiteboard along with the skills gaps and redundancies of everyone on your team. What skills could you use more or less of?

What would the new hire have to do to exceed your expectations, and if they did, what direction could they be promoted into?

Chew on all that and let's map this out for a better outcome."

It gave them a new perspective on how to define what they truly need and shave off the rest..


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