Clark Kent VS Superman, Who's the Better Candidate?
It’s popular to be Type-A.
Bragging over how full your schedule is, constantly checking your phone for updates, and running around half-dazed, chugging coffee, means you are you are working hard and getting stuff done.
Even when there just isn’t that much that needs doing, we fill those times to the brim with ‘busy work’, still chugging coffee like there’s no tomorrow, running around frantically like mice in one of those spinny-wheel things that I don’t know the name of.
This type of behavior is actually detrimental to productivity. And yet we demand it of candidates every single day.
In job posts, employers describe their ideal candidate as constantly working, proficient every aspect of their field, and as perfectionists who want to get every detail exactly right. This DO-ALL-THE-THINGS attitude may be in high demand, but it’s not going to benefit your company, or recruiting efforts, or your potential hires.
Take this job description for example:
“We want someone who doesn’t understand the term ‘office hours’. You’re always online!”
We took this example from LinkedIn Jobs, but I will not name the employer, as I am nice. I guess they also want someone who is operating at at a fraction of their potential, and is at risk of stroke, depression, and serious burn out. <sarcasm> Sounds like a great retention strategy to me! <sarcasm>
It’s like there are two planets: the reality of actual humans, and the irreality of job descriptions. When you ask for a candidate to have all of the skills of Superman, for a job Clark Kent that could do, the only applicants you’re going to attract are the ones with superhero complexes. And more often than not, these candidates will not deliver on what they promise!
I know it’s tempting, when writing up a job post, to envision a perfect employee, who turns everything they touch to gold. An employee who just intuitively knows how to fulfill every task required of them (and how many sugars you like in your coffee), but that candidate does not exist. And if they did, they would probably be off fighting crime somewhere, not checking their Facebook feed for potential job openings!
If that is the employee that your job posts demand, then those job posts are going to intimidate, and even alienate, lots of great candidates. Writing a job description is not just about projecting your expectations and desires, it is also about appealing to potential hires in order to get applications. You’ll get a lot more quality applications by appealing to the Clark Kent side of a candidate in your job posts, then allowing your new employee to reveal their Superman side as they grow into their position.
When you use social recruiting, every job you post builds your employer brand, and projects your corporate culture to the whole world. Those posts can help you craft an identity that makes candidates excited at the prospect of working for you, encourages them to engage, builds strong talent pipelines, and fosters positivity, trust, and growth. Make your job posts a symbol of hope amongst a sea of unrealistic expectations, and you’ll draw candidates in like never before. I mean really. We all know that the S on Superman’s chest stands for the Kryptonian word for hope, and not for our simple earthling ideas about the importance of being “Super”.
Next week, we’ll explore exactly how you can write job posts that will land you a Clark Kent employee!