Hiring Mistake: Not clearly setting out the expectations of the role‚ π

Hiring Mistake

When drafting a job ad, you need to think thoroughly about what the relevant job requirements and person specifications are for each specific role. Ask yourself: What are the specific skills, competencies, characteristics, behaviours and motivators that the ideal candidate must have? Fresh HR Insights always tries to be very precise in their job descriptions in order to attract and recommend 100 % suitable candidates. The more clearly a Recruiter is able to spell out the requirements and what the role involves, the less time will be wasted with the wrong candidates. Knowing exactly what the expectations are, is for both parties – recruiter and job candidate ‚ ¨ important in order to find out how good the match is.

Fresh HR Insights experiences on a regular basis that employer’s don’t clearly set out the expectations of the role. In order to avoid receiving an avalanche of unsuitable applications, a job description should not be written in a too general way. Its’ crucial to invest some time up front to clearly set out the expectations of the role.

It will save you lots of money, time and headaches later on.

Here are three examples on how you can be more specific:

  • Let’s say that a company is looking for a candidate who has a flexible‚ π attitude. The word flexible‚ π might be interpreted differently by the candidate and the company. The company might think of a person who is prepared to work also during unsociable hours and weekends, who is prepared to travel to clients nationwide and who can adapt quickly to new situations and tasks. The candidate, on the other hand, can only think of a person who is able to take on new tasks on an occasional basis.

Now imagine the following scenario: The lady that you invited for the interview finds out that one of the job requirements is to travel. The problem is the company can’t provide a corporate car and she does not have her own vehicle. Furthermore, in the weekends she has other family commitments and is not able to work during those times.

  • Don’t you wish you would have clearly set out in your job ad more details, such as availability to travel nationwide and working during unsociable hours on an occasional basis‚ π?
  • Did you realise that you wasted the candidate’s time and your own time?

Another example: You are looking for a Sales Manager. Your job ad states that the person should have a proven track record of impressive sales achievements‚ π. You don’t mention anything about the salary which is commission-based only. The candidate that turns up for the interview is a father who needs a regular income and can’t afford to take up a job which is entirely performance based. Again, don’t you wish you would have specified in your job ad about the commission-based remuneration? This candidate would not have turned up in the first place and you would not have wasted both of your precious time.

Another scenario: You are looking for a candidate who is outgoing, with a bubbly personality, easily approachable and a real networker. In the job ad you didn’t highlight any of these characteristics. The candidate comes to the interview and very soon you realise that the person is very shy and introverted. You are struggling very hard to get from that applicant the information you are looking for. Again, don’t you wish you would have mentioned at some point in your job details that you are looking for a confident person with great interpersonal skills‚ π?

Fresh HR Insights would like to highlight the importance of clearly setting out the expectations of the job role. This includes: defining the purpose of the position, job specifications with regard to duties and responsibilities, qualifications and personality traits. If your company has very specific goals and targets to meet within a certain time frame, it would be beneficial to make that clear to a candidate.

Those candidates who do not feel 100 % confident in being able to achieve those goals, would (most probably) not apply or accept a potential offer.

Fresh HR Insights is the ideal partner for your recruitment needs. We always make sure that the companies’ targets are being communicated to new hires in an effective way. We strongly believe that new employees need to be made fully aware of their expectations, and that right from the beginning. If done correctly, it will allow them to perform more successfully and corporate goals can be achieved more easily.

Time is a crucial resource, particularly in the fast-paced recruitment industry, that nowadays nobody can afford to waste.

What are the other uses of a job description/ Person specifications?

Besides providing a clear description and understanding of each position there are a number of other important uses for a well defined job description.

Job evaluation

The detail contained in the job description and person specification contributes important information which enables you to evaluate all positions. This in turn helps determine what salary or range a staff position fits into the business as it grows; this in turn influences staff remuneration decisions.

Performance and Development Planning

All staff are expected to skilfully perform their duties and responsibilities and achieve specific outcomes which together make up their key accountabilities. Individual performance objectives, which are consistent with the key accountabilities of the job description, are defined and agreed to as part of a businesses Performance and Development Planning process. The job description provides a focus for discussion so that the manager and staff member have a shared understanding of the nature and scope of the position and of what is expected of the staff member.

Training and development

Through the Performance and Development Planning process an individual’s initial training and development needs are assessed primarily against the requirements of their job description and person specification. The focus is usually on

(a) how well the individual performed their duties and responsibilities over the previous 12 months;

(b) what competency gaps are deemed to exist, and

(c) consideration of an individual’s career aspirations and developing a personalised plan for professional career growth and advancement

Please do note: A job description must be current for these important functions to be carried out effectively.


Written by Karin Schroeck-Singh, 19th October 2015