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How To Hire For A Position That You Are Clueless About

stress at work

Have you ever been handed a job description and felt like you’ve just been given something in a different language to decipher, a language that you are far from fluent in. It can be intimidating and hard to know where to begin.

 

A quick google search of some of the keywords might give you a small bit of insight but if time is of the essence you don’t want to spend hours trawling through Wikipedia pages and other websites on a wild goose chase that brings you no closer to deciding on a recruitment strategy for this role.

 

Go To the Person That Does Understand the Requirement

Is there an expert in the business who can explain to you the ins and outs of this job? The hiring manager might be the obvious person to go to however sometimes they are not available. Is there someone in the business doing the job already or a colleague from the same team that could help you? Or is this job coming about because a person is leaving; can you pick their brain? Ask them to explain the set-up of the team, the larger function, and the systems that are required. If you get lost in the explanation, be honest with them, ask them to pretend they were explaining it to an alien who has just arrived on Earth and knows nothing about the company and job itself.

 

Minimize the Risk of Screening out Potentially Suitable Candidates

You don’t want to regret candidates simply because you don’t understand their CV. You need to know what the prerequisites are for this job and what is flexible. At the same time don’t be obsessed with looking for certain terms only. Find out what alternative words might be found on the CV of a potentially suitable candidate whether it is a job title, experience, degree etc. If they need systems experience are there alternative systems that they might have used before that could work in this instance? Are there certain skills that can be learned on the job?

 

Don’t Try and Bluff It

It’s better to be honest with the candidate or hiring manager when you don’t understand what they are talking about. If you try and blag it, they will pick up on it and you are going to lose their respect. This will not create a positive experience for the company. Ask the hiring manager what type of screening questions they think you can use and what sort of answers they would accept as sufficient?

 

LinkedIn Is Your Friend

Type the job title into LinkedIn and check out a few profiles of people who are already doing this job. What companies do they typically work in? What is their academic background? On LinkedIn how do they explain what they do? What was their previous job title? All of these will give you vital clues as to suitable backgrounds.

 

Ask For Help

You might fully understand the job but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to have a lot of suitable candidates. Not knowing the career path a candidate needs to take before getting to this position or having no contacts in the industry may hinder your progress. If this is the case you might want to consider getting help from a recruitment agency. Remember a specialist recruiter spends all day working within their given market so they should be able to understand both what the job looks like and more importantly what the ideal candidate looks like. Don’t be afraid to call one to ask for advice, most recruiters are happy to give their time and advice to those in need.

Posted by Kate Stewart, Team Lead, HR on 7 December 2017

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