Out of this world: When lofty requirements drive the talent away

When I was fresh out of college looking for my first job, I had an odd experience with one potential employer. The job description listed several computer programs I’d never heard of. (And I wasn’t applying for a programming job.) I read them off to my parents, both computer programmers, who could only laugh. Their take: the hiring manager must not have had any idea about any of those demands; no one person could hope to have that much experience, much less a fresh college grad. Yet that’s what this little publishing house was looking for in an editorial assistant. Those expectations went beyond the purple squirrel commonly referred to now.

I was reminded of that experience today when I read an SIA report on what advice staffing firm recruiters and other staff have for their enterprise clients. The survey received more than 5,000 responses to the question: “Based on your day to day experience with client companies (where temporary workers are placed), what anonymous feedback/advice would you give those clients?” The responses tended to fall into consistent groups, among them, be reasonable in your expectations.

This advice is not obviously not new. But it serves as a helpful reminder. As SIA’s John Nurthen, executive director of global research, has advised, sometimes the contingent workforce program office needs to rein in their hiring managers. And with unemployment hovering at 4.1%, the talent calls the shots. Will candidates bother to respond to a job that has absurd expectations? “Be flexible on the required skills and years of experience you’re targeting,” one survey respondent stated. “And if a specific skill really is critical, yet you can’t seem to land that hire, be open to hiring based on fit and let training take care of the missing skill.”

Another area of advice from staffing firm staff has to do with communication. One such suggestion is to provide recruiters as much information on the position and expectations as possible. Many programs remain uncertain about allowing staffing recruiters access to hiring managers, but doing so would help address this area of concern. Frank Enriquez, CCWP, SIA’s senior manager of contingent workforce strategies and research, suggests how programs can accommodate such a request while maintaining a competitive field of providers in this week’s Contingent Workforce Strategies 3.0 e-newlsetter.

Other common themes emerging from the feedback:

  • Treat temps better.
  • Trust your suppliers more.
  • Improve your operational hiring processes.

Going back to my experience, I don’t know if that hiring manager ever came to his senses. I never got a call back. But he’s clearly not the only one to have expectations that were out of this world. Today, when talent has little need to come knocking at your door, you may need to review those job requirements to ensure they are not out of hand.

The report is available to CWS Council members here.

Sharon Thomas

Sharon Thomas
Sharon Thomas is managing editor at Staffing Industry Analysts, responsible for the Contingent Workforce Strategies 3.0 e-newsletter. She can be reached at smthomas (at) staffingindustry (dot) com.

Sharon Thomas

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One Response to “Out of this world: When lofty requirements drive the talent away”

  1. Tasha says:

    There is no only solution but heaps of options
    – like I said in the beginning, there’s no hard and quick manual that states to the point
    solutions to all of your issues. Now if you pose a particular
    problem to some panel of experts, then you are guaranteed to receive many diverse comments
    and answers in return. This can turnout to become vexing.

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