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    « #HRHappyHour LIVE Tonight - 'Recruiting in 2013' | Main | Lessons from an Ad Man #3 - On Judgment and Research »
    Wednesday
    Feb272013

    If the manager is so important, why does no one make it part of the ad?

    I read a really interesting piece from Scott Berkun last week titled - 'Why You Should Pick Your Own Boss' where he lays out a case that the most important aspect in any job is the boss that you will be reporting to. But according to Berkun, most people don't evaluate a new job or a transfer with the 'boss' as the primary consideration, rather we think about compensation, job titles, and assignments first, (in varying orders, but these are the most important considerations), and maybe, if we can get a feel in the interview, think about the personality of the hiring manager/boss.

    While I am not totally sure the boss is the most important element of a job, there is no doubt that the boss, your relationship with him or her, their talent, and probably most of all, their willingness and ability to help your development and learning is one of the critical aspects of any job, and as Berkun suggests, one that new employees and candidates often can find out the least.

    External candidates can learn quite a bit about a company from reviews on Glassdoor, can examine career profiles and arcs of potential future colleagues and bosses on LinkedIn, and perhaps if they are lucky or persistent enough, talk to someone actually working at a company to learn more about the culture and the feel of a place. But rich information an details about a prospective boss - how are they as a people developer, how many of their past direct reports were promoted, how many internal people try to transfer in/out of their group, etc. - this kind of data is really difficult if not impossible to ascertain.

    And, what I think is even more curious, is that if the 'boss' is such an important element for attraction, performance, retention, etc. why don't more companies actually talk about the boss in job advertisements? I mean, if your company did have a rockstar hiring manager, that everyone wanted to work for, wouldn't you want to emphasive that in the job ad? Wouldn't that be an incredible source of competitive adavantage in recruiting?

    Because when you think about it, very few jobs are 'unique' in that there are not any other similar jobs at other companies. Every company has accountants, marketers, operations people - you get the idea. The differences between any of these jobs at Company 'A' v. Company 'B' boil down to tangible things like compensation, benefits, schedules; and intangible things like company culture, mission, and the personalities and talent of the actual people you will be working with and for.

    But most job advertising is about 80% job duties and requirements, 15% generic pablum about the company, and maybe with 5% of the content that actually tries to distinguish the job or role from the hundreds or thousands of similar jobs at other places.

    Just once I'd like to see a job ad that said something like - "Look you can get an accounting job anywhere. Take this accounting job, and you'll learn from the best Division Controller our organization has ever had, who has placed her last 4 lead accountants in bigger and better roles in the company. This gal is a star, and she will get the best out of you.''

    I'd apply for a job like that, and I hate accounting.

     

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