Monday, July 5, 2010

Job Descriptions and Online Dating???

While having lunch with a friend who was a former CEO, we discussed our careers and the normal gossip at one of our former employers.  As with friends catching up, the discussion covered the full spectrum.  But the discussion took a weird turn when he mentioned his non-success with online dating.

I have always been skeptical of online dating because I felt that if you are in NYC metro area; there is no need for it. What will all the events, gatherings that go on daily; there is never a problem in meeting people.

He told me about filling the frustration of filling out the questionnaires. Trying to describe that perfect person, the qualities that he wanted to find in this person. The real must haves! This one is non-negotiable while this one is a maybe, no big deal. But the must-haves are the must-haves. He would occasionally get some nibbles and had a few meet and greets resulting in nothing. No sparks, Nada.

But then out the clear blue he went to an event and met someone. They hit it off and they both felt a connection. Problem was that this person in no way fit the profile that he completed on dating sites.  After all the thoughts process he went through describing who he was and what he was looking for, he meets someone "off-line" When he was describing this he seemed somewhat perplexed by it all.  He had has spent so much time on the questionnaire and doing all the assessments and his "finding" was totally different from his request.

He said it was like working on a job description for that perfect candidate and you end up hiring someone that maybe did not measure up but turned into a superstar. Or the exact opposite may happen, you hire that perfect match and within a year or possibly shorter, it becomes apparent that you made a mistake. That perfect fit is no longer in sync.

How many times have we all have worked with hiring managers to try and come up with the ideal candidates? They describe all the competencies and all that is needed to make this a perfect fit. Then the fun begins. Posted, resumes come in, interviews arranged, nothing, just not quite right! The must haves on the job description are not being met. They had this but they did not have that. Just trying to find Mr/Ms Perfect, no flaws accepted. I have seen this so many times and I am sure you have. Problem is that lots of time when that perfect person is found and all the violins are playing in the background, they flame out and for some reason just does not live up to the standard that were set during "Operation Job Description". If the person does not fit the profile on the job description to a T, it is definitely a no go.  At some companies it serves as a guide with some flexibility, but at others it has to be a perfect score.

This past week the NBA ended their season and now the free agent marketing game is in full play. This same scenario happens every year with the NFL as well. They both hold their yearly draft and they too had their job descriptions with all the attributes.  Over a few days they make their selections.  A year from now a great percentage will not be employed in football. Some of the "can't miss" selections will miss big time. When these selections were drafted the teams felt based on their needs, that they had found the ideal candidates.  But every year the players at the bottom of the draft, some who were not even drafted, the ones who would not have met the job description to a T are the ones that will break through and become a star.  It happens time and time again. How many times have hiring managers taken a chance on someone that did not quite fit the profile but turned into a solid performer?

As I thought of my conversation with my friend, I kept coming back to the JD.  This most important document that we in HR use to build and acquire talent needs some flexibility especially in this market.  I think we must look at the culture of our companies and go back to the competencies that were developed and let that be the starting point of the discussion. If Mr. /Ms Right who was very successful in company A which just maybe be diametrically opposite to your culture, you just may have a problem. With business competitiveness and the landscape changing at warp speed, will this new savior be able to make the adjustments needed.

In dating, drafting and all the other endeavors that make up our wish list, do not let that document be the overriding factor in making that decision.

Oh and by the way, my friend and his new love are getting along just fine!!!!

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