The other day I had a hiring manager say to me. . . “Based on the position description, there are probably 5 people that fit this position. That number includes the person that we are trying to replace (because of retirement). Then he proceeded to ask me how I was going to fill the position!
I think all too often, we spend too much time searching for people that don’t exist rather than spending the same amount of energy (or much less) trying to identify the core competencies required to be successful in the position and who, with proper development, would be just as successful (if not more).
Now I know this is easier said than done. Trust me, I am marginally successful at doing this with the hiring managers I work with (or have worked with in the past). But that doesn’t relieve you (or I) of the responsibility for trying!
Some simple questions to start a dialog around this discussion include:
- What skills did the person that is currently in the position have when they hired in?
- What was his/her ramp up time to become successful?
- What was “lost” during that ramp up period that won’t be lost by us trying to find the unique skill set you are looking for? Given the skill set, it could take 90+ days to find a candidate qualified and interested (if we find one at all).
- Do you have an internal “up and coming candidate”, this could be a great retention strategy (moving them into this roll)!
Managers usually want the easy way (experience, less training) way out. I don’t blame them. I do as well! But they often think that the “easy way” is finding and hiring someone with the exact skill set for the position. You need to consult with them! You need to let them understand that the easiest, less stressful way is to probably take someone that is eager to learn, can start tomorrow, and excited about the opportunity. Especially if it is a current employee!
Again – I know this argument/line of questioning doesn’t always work but . . . if you aren’t pushing back on these req’s that you know are next to impossible to fill…. than you are creating more work and aggravation and . . . you’re not doing your job as an internal consultant.