If human resources departments had full disclosure requirements, this is what we’d find:
“Our job requirements are rough and incomplete estimates of what might actually be needed to do the job. Most are obsolete. Many are ridiculously inflated and ones such as ‘five years of experience’ were chosen because they sound good. Often, we don’t really know what we want.”
“Just because we recruit for a position doesn’t mean we plan to fill it with anyone from outside of our organization. We may already know our selection-- it’s Gretchen from down the hall--but we won’t say that.”
“We get upset when people who lack the desired qualifications apply for jobs. They increase our paperwork. Of course, if few people apply or if we realize that our advertised standards were too rigid, we’ll consider those who were initially rejected. There are times when it is wise to submit a resume even if you’re a longshot.”
“The most important part of the process is the final selection interview held by the hiring department. If you get an interview, remember that most of the other applicants didn’t. Unfortunately, this stage is usually handled by non-HR folks with the least amount of training, experience, and interest in employment interviewing. Don’t bank on their expertise. You’ll have to help them understand why you’re the best choice.”
“Despite all of our flaws, good people do get hired. Don’t take our requirements too seriously. Please realize that we routinely blunder and turn down a lot of great applicants. We aren’t proud of that, but it’s the truth. Submit those job applications. Be persistent. You’ll eventually prevail.”
Michael Wade writes Execupundit.com, an eclectic combination of management advice, observations, and links. A partner with the Phoenix firm of Sanders Wade Rodarte Consulting Inc., he has advised private and public-sector organizations for more than 30 years.