Clarity and Expectations in Recruitment (Part 1)

The Chasm Separating Companies from Good Candidates

Following on from his recent article “Confessions of a Procurement Recruitment Specialist – An Insider’s Experience” part 1 and part 2, Peter Brophy of procurement recruitment firm Edbury Daley, highlights some areas where both organisations and the recruiters that represent them can improve the chances of finding the right candidate who has a good experience during the recruitment process.

Peter has been recruiting Procurement Professionals for over ten years; his experience spans a number of sectors including aerospace, engineering, manufacturing, professional services and corporate functions such as HR, finance as well as procurement. He is well placed to give us a first-hand view of the process.

There are two parts to this:

  • The expectations and specification of the role (the new recruit)
  • How we treat people during the process

We’ll discuss the first part here and follow up with the second tomorrow.

Expectations of new roles or new recruits

In my experience both as a recruiter and a candidate, job adverts and job specifications are increasingly described in terms that elevate each role to an incomprehensible level of unrealistic requirements. I call this the ‘superman requirement’ as only such a person could ever match the brief.

I wonder whether anyone is taking a reality check on this as it deters many capable people from applying. Yes we need to sell a job to a candidate but I advise that we reflect on the day-to-day aspects of the job not just what we would like it to be – yes be realistic and use plain English that is understood by those outside the organisation.

Ask: does such a perfect person does exist? Can we really recruit someone who meets all of our requirements at the salary level we can afford? Or worse, do you recruit a person who knows the key words and phrases rather than the best person who isn’t as good at selling themselves?

This is a problem most recruiters know too well and when we do find this ‘superman’ candidate they often tend to be looking for a role and salary at the next level. In my experience most people move from a company to get additional responsibility and development. They rarely move to something which repeats their current role (other than after redundancy) unless there is a salary increase, so if you recruit externally it is likely to cost you more than you would benchmark it internally.

Additionally another problem of over specifying a role results in someone being recruited who has unrealistic expectations which will not be met. What happens? They get bored and de-motivated and leave and you have to recruit again!

We all fall into the trap of making jobs sounds exciting and with great career progression but with flat organisations more the norm, then clearly this isn’t going to be possible for all your staff and will impact on turnover and morale.

We promise something that doesn’t exist …

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Voices (2)

  1. Peter Brophy:

    I think recruiters need to push back and give their insight and companies need to think through what they really need – it is sometimes a wish list that nobody challenges…

  2. bitter and twisted:


    So, are the nonsense ads/specs we see down to

    a) lazy/incompetent agents
    b) stupid clients who wont listen to advice?

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