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The Problem with Over Specifying

Recruitment Advertisement
One of the many downsides to the economic downturn is that the imbalance between vacancies and applicants grows wider.

One point of view would say that this is a massive positive for employers because there are more candidates to choose from

In theory, they are more likely to find the “perfect match” for their role, but in reality the temptation to ‘over specify’ the essential skill requirements to ensure this “perfect match” leads to extremely capable applicants being disregarded because of a few gaps in this ideal model.

the past, employers would be content to hire the very best candidates that closely match their role, and would either, encourage their employee to take further training or provide it themselves, either funded or assisted. With no training structure in place, and employers believing that they can hire someone who can do the entire job at day one, a hiring problem is created.

For anybody dealing with recruitment, trying to match up multiple “must have” skills to the advertised position (and that is before they even consider salary and location) is proving an almost insurmountable task. Unfortunately this list of “essential” skills is also putting off would be job seekers, because they believe that the one skill they don’t possess precludes them from applying.

This over specification is undoubtedly causing really capable people to be overlooked, when with even a small amount of training they could hire the right person, even for less than they would have to pay for the rare “perfect match”
Some tips to overcome this, and increase your chances of hire………

  • When drafting your job description, be certain you understand the difference between essential skills and desirable skills.
  • Identify people within your own business that can utilise their transferable skills to train others, it might even enhance their own self development and job satisfaction.
  • Be honest with yourselves, do you even have ALL these skills within existing staff?
  • Encourage applications by promoting broad skill sets, rather than being too product or skill specific.
  • Encourage training both in or out of the work place, even if this is an additional cost, staff retention is enhanced when employees feel they are being helped to succeed.

Ultimately finding the right person is not just about exact matches, it is about unearthing potential, giving committed individuals the chance to learn and develop. Is it not true to say that even the most skilful and adept individuals began with a blank slate, they became what they are through encouragement, the will and desire to learn, and perhaps most importantly, training and support…. Perhaps you should try it!

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