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Job specs - insider information to help you

Job specs are a much-maligned part of the recruitment process. 

Many clients call in the and simply say "we want another Bob or Mary".  We do our best to write a spec, but we often are just not close enough to the project to be accurate. When specs are provided, they often prepared by HR in concert with the Hiring Manager and as such are often seen as wish-lists plus they take time, are a pain to do and don't get updated very often.  We have one client that has used the same spec for over 10 years!

Job specs cannot ever be stagnant documents due to the project changing (hopefully moving forward), technological changes, new project priorities and so on.  At best they are guidelines as to the technical environment and while having a few of the listed skills is important, having all the list of skills is often unrealistic. The organisation's web site is often far more valuable than any job spec as it will reflect organisation culture and the business environment.

75% of all job offers will go to the candidate that is the right culture fit i.e. candidates that can demonstrate they are enthusiastic, willing to learn and have a good work ethic. Only 25 % match the job spec exactly.

Do you need to meet the spec?

There are gender differences insofar as how candidates react to job specs. According to Harvard Business Review, women in particular focus on applying for jobs for which they are already overqualified... the article goes on to say, if you are completely qualified for the role you apply for, you have aimed too low. Furthermore, if you can do the job comfortably, what is the point - will it be challenging enough for you?

The salary level question

In the IT space, specs often miss what is important to candidates, namely the tech challenge, the salary and the location. This significantly reduces the extent to which a candidate may apply.

Recruiters often pick up flak for not showing salary bands in our adverts.  We agree that it would save everyone time if we did and we do want to but many clients forbid it for two reasons; 1) applicants tend to price themselves at the top of the band regardless and 2) companies sometimes don't want their existing staff to see the range.  That said, we do often have the salary band to work within and we are very happy to chat with you and share the salary bands directly but unfortunately, more often than not, we are not allowed to advertise them so anytime one of our ads interest you, by all means, drop us note and ask for more information.  We remain committed to doing all we can to help you find both the right job and salary!

Please contact me if you would like to chat.

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