Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Feng Shui on my Job Board?

My back is a bit sore today, although not from monkeying around with the kids or anything I did in the gym yesterday. I had to hang a picture for my wife.

Imagine, if you will, I've one foot on the edge of the fireplace and one toe on the coffee table while using both hands and my cat-like agility to keep from falling while holding the 80lbs picture frame.

"Left, sweetie," she says. "More left.... uh huh... up a bit. Now right. Left. Down some... oh over just a bit."

All the while I could swear I was seeing a devilish grin on her face while I'm sweating bullets and doing my impression of a contortionist acrobat. But you see - it's important to her that it's perfect, and all of her OCD issues aside - the perfect placement of the pictures, furniture, and living room accessories are important to her when she entertains. Her goal is that she creates the perfect environment for her invited guests.

This of course takes me back to job postings and recruiting. (what doesn't, right?)
I've had recent conversations with my peers in the industry about how to help sift through the hundreds of job seekers that just don't meet the minimum requirements of jobs they are applying for. So I have to ask them - "How's your feng shui?"

Usually it turns out that they've a job posted that is nothing more than a generic job description - some bullets (if not a bland paragraph) about typical job duties, hours, and perhaps the location of the job.

"Get specific." I tell them.
Get as specific as your client/hiring manager will let you. Get as specific to location and hours and the actual day to day doings of the job as possible. Just listing a few bullets about a job isn't going to convey to them how they might be doing code 8 hours a day or dealing with frustrated customers 50% of their workday.

"Screen them out." I tell them.
If you have the ability to ask prescreen questions then I'd encourage you to do so. Frankly, I'm not sure how any mid-sized company in a metro area or market with an unemployment rate of over 4% could get by without prescreen questions.

Even the most simple of prescreen questions can reduce the amount of unqualified candidates you'll need to go through. For instance... let's say you've a job that requires a commercial drivers license - you've stated this in the job description so go ahead and add it to your prescreen questions.
It has always amazed me how many people literally fly through a job description, not really reading through it only to smack on the "Apply" button. A prescreen question with specifics as to the type of drivers license they have or don't have (and mentioning that a check /could/ be done to validate the answer) goes a long way in cleaning up your list of top candidates.

So is my living room tweaked to feng shui perfection for guests? My wife says that she decorates our house so that it's comfortable for our friends and family - and she does seem to be constantly on the receiving side of compliments to that effect.
How about your job postings? Are you "decorating" them as invitations with the perfect "guest" in mind? Step back and take a look at those jobs where you're getting too many job seekers and not enough candidates. You may need to get out the feng shui whiffle bat and start swinging wide. Then again, maybe you just need to adjust a little to left... or up... or down...