The Business of Needs and Wants
A key hiring goal for most companies is to feel safe and secure that they’ve made a good choice – they’ve selected someone who will fit in, will perform well, and have a positive impact. In order to satisfy the need to feel “safe” about a hire, some employers load up a laundry list of skills and experiences and label them “must have” or “required.” In some cases, these are legitimate, such as an in-the-trenches, hands-on technical hire. However, in many cases, the line is blurred between “needs” and “wants.” These expectations can even be variables that are could be flexible like location. We had a client who indicated that the candidate “must” live in a certain city. Yet the new hire would be traveling 80% between 4 cities in the region. We advocated flexibility in location, which more than doubled the pool of talent that could be considered, since many did not want to move to the primary location.
We encourage employers to sharpen the line by distinguishing clearly between required skills and attributes – desirable or a plus. Then, the key way to feel safe in hiring is to establish clear, precise, specific performance objectives, and screen the candidate to their ability to produce the critical results.
Be careful not to “need” so much that really capable people are ruled out. Establish a better way to feel safe about the hire.