Quick challenge: Try summarizing all of your professional responsibilities in 150 words. If you’re like most people with jobs that involve decision making and critical thinking, that would be tough to pull off in such a limited space. So why do we put so much stock in the similarly brief job descriptions of the advertising most companies use to recruit employees?
Despite advances in social networking and automation within large human resources departments, hiring for all but the most entry-level positions still remains more art than science. Looking back over three decades of recruiting, I know first-hand that employers and job seekers alike can benefit from a more thoughtful approach to hiring.
Employers: Don’t sell the job. Sell the company.
The pace of the recovery in housing, commercial property and the full breadth of real estate is finally picking up. Likewise, the competition for talent and the urgency in filling positions critical to growth continue to mount. Dangling a title, a compensation range and the boilerplate language from a years-old job description in front of a universe of potential candidates is no longer the most effective way to find qualified people. Companies must declare – transparently and with pride – what differentiates their organizations from their competitors. Too often, these are things hiring managers take for granted. Look at policies like leadership development programs, reimbursement for continuing education and similar benefits for high-potential employees. If something stands out compared to the rest of the industry, let candidates know it when advertising a position.
Also, don’t just recruit for the immediate opening. Look for people who can grow in their leadership over time, and make that potential for advancement clear when communicating with candidates. Driven people won’t just be interested in the current role, but also how it will lead to the next career challenge a few years down the road. Let potential employees know what that looks like. Additionally, give them a sense of the culture they’ll be growing within. Is the company young and changing fast, or established and expanding at a measured pace? How much risk are employees encouraged to take? Is the style of the company’s leaders one that drives hard for a unified vision or one focused on consensus and collaboration from the bottom up? Do people leave early on Friday afternoons when the weather is too good to resist, or are Saturdays a part of the workweek more often than not? These questions don’t have right or wrong answers. But there are right and wrong people to hire to fit the culture that each represents. Creating realistic expectations during recruitment also helps set the stage for beneficial relationships with new hires.
Job Seekers: Research pays off.
By the same token, job seekers shouldn’t assume that life at another company will be the same as it is at places where they’ve worked before. Even within identical market segments, professionals in various organizations interact differently, share different values and approach business in different ways. Generic ads for the same position at two companies might make their demands sound identical. Yet a workplace that touts its support for people with families will offer a different experience than a team that never skips the chance to trade war stories at the bar after a 12-hour workday. As such, job seekers should look beyond the traditional list of benefits and compensation and try to get a feel for what it’s really like to work there. Check what current employees say about their workplace online. Network with people at the company. Ask them, and those involved in the hiring process, to describe their work environment. Is it loud’ Silent’ Competitive’ Sociable’ What personality traits do people who get ahead typically share’ It’s important to gauge these things at companies you’re interested in working for, even if you’re currently employed. That way, if and when you need to, you can enter the job market with some of the most critical homework completed ahead of time.
After all, there’s more to any given job than will ever fit on a single sheet of paper. Employees make the best career decisions – and companies retain the best people – when they have a true understanding of both the role and the workplace.
Christopher Frederick has helped match the talents of executives with leading companies in real estate for three decades. We’ve also developed a better approach to recruiting that combines the power of a 300,000-strong professional network with the discretion and one-on-one touch of a professional recruiter. Want to see this unique process up close? Contact us for a free Join.me presentation and watch how we can create a powerful search customized to your unique needs.