ABC’s of Hiring #36 You Have an Open Position – Now What?

Once you have determined the need for a new or replacement position in your company, then you must prepare an in-depth plan for filling the opening. The labor force participation rate is 62.4%, the lowest in 38 years. This equates to 94 million people not working and not looking for work. The unemployment rate is 4.8%. Thus we have a shrinking candidate pool available. Now that the baby boomers have mostly retired, there are fewer qualified people available at all levels of every organization. In a candidate driven market, how will you attract top talent? The primary steps typically define what you want in a candidate, but in this market, that approach is not sufficient.

Start with a Job Description

A job description is mostly boilerplate information regarding the position. It should include title, duties, responsibilities, experience required, skills required, educational requirements and salary range. While this is a good place to start and requires the hiring manager to fully understand what is needed in order to be successful in the role, it is insufficient and doesn’t tell the whole story.

Go Beyond the Job Description

In order to understand the true nature of the work required by this opening, several questions need to be answered:

  • What problems need to be solved by the person in this position?
  • What projects will they work on in the first six months?
  • What are the goals and expectations for this role?
  • What cannot be compromised and must get done by this person?
  • What do they need to focus on and accomplish?

The answers to these questions will help define what the successful candidate must do to be successful and help interviewers dig down for related experience.

What Constitutes a Good Cultural Fit?

Define your culture in terms of management style, corporate values and objectives. Consider these questions:

  • What attributes are needed for this person to be successful in this role?
  • Who will they interface with and at what levels within the organization?
  • Is this an individual contributor role or one that requires managing a team?
  • Are you a high energy organization or laidback?
  • Are you entrepreneurial or bureaucratic?

Understanding the best potential “fit” is critical to a successful hire and should not be ignored. You have to know who you are first and be able to articulate your vision and work environment.

Why Would Someone Want to Work For You?

Today’s candidate pool comprised of Gen X and Millennials don’t think like baby boomers. They are both selective and critical with an interest in the quality of the position and the work- life balance that it offers. Instead of focusing on what you want as a company, you also need to take the perspective of the candidate pool and think about what’s in it for them.

  • Why is this job an opportunity?
  • What makes this an excellent organization to work for?
  • What visibility and exposure will the positon entail?
  • How are superior performers recognized and rewarded?
  • What community involvement does the company participate in?
  • Is your staff all on the same page when it comes to your collective vision of the company and its future?

Understand what the person you want will want from you. Prepare your “sales pitch” for posting and advertising which addresses both what you want and what the candidate would be attracted to.


With a shallow and elusive candidate pool, it is more important than ever to be insightful and thorough in defining the role, the company and its work environment. Before you can post the job opening or implement a plan to recruit top talent, you must first define what the ideal candidate is not just in terms of skills, experience and fit, but also in terms of why they would want to work for you. Then, you will be able to create a plan to identify them and attract them to your job opening.

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