The Wrong Candidates – Again

Like in politics, employers often 'vote' for an employee who promises a lot, but doesn't deliver
A client seeks work at an unemployment office in Jerusalem (Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
A client seeks work at an unemployment office in Jerusalem (Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

No, I’m not talking about politics. I mean job candidates, for any job.

If you are an employer, you know exactly what I mean. You spent a long time defining the skills, experience and traits that you are looking for in the right candidate. You carefully crafted the job description to accurately present what will be expected of your new employee.  The response has been overwhelming.

The only problem is, your candidates do not fit the job description or the job requirements.

Why are people applying for jobs for which they are not qualified?

Here are some possible reasons:

1. You have set your bar too high. If the job is a mid level position, and the requirements read like an application to be head of NASA, people are going to call your bluff. They know that in most cases a sales rep does not need a PhD to do his/her job. Often, a job seeker will read the job title and description and decide, “I can do that, even if I don’t have ten years of experience or the degree they are requiring. I’ll apply and see if they give me a shot.” Sometimes, they may be right.

To avoid this pitfall, think about the tasks that the job requires, and what training, experience, and skill set are minimally necessary to do it. If the requirements make sense, job seekers are more likely to respect your conditions.

 2. Your ad is too long. Brevity is the soul of wit. And of job descriptions. If your description is longer than three sentences, you run the risk of it not being carefully read. Many jobseekers will read the job title, skim the rest, and send in their application. What do they have to lose?

The solution: be succinct. The description should clearly state the responsibilities of the position and the skills it requires. Save additional details for interviews – with the candidates that you want to meet.

3. Your ad has been hijacked by a commercial recruiting firm. Some Israeli recruitment firms are paid by jobseekers to send in their applications. The firm therefore has a clear incentive to send as many CVs as possible for each position.

These firms are under no obligation to you, the employer, as you have not contracted with them to send you candidates. Since these matches are made by computer generated key word searches, you may find an application from an IT developer for the position you advertised for a development director. Nothing in common but the word “development”.

There is a way out of this one: you will generally receive an email from said firm, stating that they are advertising your position, and offering you the possibility of opting out. While you may get some good candidates through this channel, if you want to significantly lower the numbers of inappropriate candidates, you may want to decline the service.

A lot of people out there are looking for work, and so your ad will generally receive plenty of attention. There is no way to completely avoid receiving applications from unqualified candidates, unless you choose not to advertise and only seek through word of mouth or through a recruiter. But hopefully these tips will help make your candidate search more focused, less frustrating – and faster.

About the Author
Gila Weinberg, CEO of Mikum Consulting, is a recruiter and a career coach. She helps organizations and companies find great employees, and helps great people figure out their next career move. Gila is also the author of Not So Grimm: Jewish Fairy Tales, a comparison between tales from the Talmud and classic fairy tales.
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