The Desk

December 29, 2007

Said Another Way

Filed under: Job Search — Yvonne LaRose @ 12:14 PM
Tags: , , ,

In the past three to four years it seems our vocabulary (especially as it relates to recruiting, job titles, and job descriptions) is becoming increasingly complicated. Yet the work that’s being accomplished is basically still the same. The only thing about the work is that it has a new name.

Let’s look at a few examples to see what I’m talking about. There’s RPO, recruitment process outsourcing. Basically it means that various parts of the recruiting agency functions are subcontracted out to others to do so that the small, core staff can develop additional business and make money to pay more subcontractors. The result is more work gets done at a higher rate of profit.

A new term that just started floating around it graphics user interface or GUI. As I recently discussed this job title with someone who seemed like a potential candidate, they summarized the position as a person who builds websites. On reflection, that was precisely what the terms meant and we also realized that my acquaintance was not the potential candidate I had hoped he would be. He wasn’t even close because he’s a recent Ph.D. graduate in computer engineering and looks forward to securing a professorship at one of the universities.

Another term of art is “pipeline of candidates” or a stream of potential candidates for a position (also known as the resume slush pile). Doesn’t “pipeline” sound much sexier than stack of papers that represent people we passed over four months ago?

It could be you’ll read a lot of ads that say something about “multiple sourcing channels.” What this means is you use more than just job boards and databases. In addition to those, you use various other techniques for finding potential candidates. (Now if I specified what some of those are, you’d have no reason to come back next week, and the week after, and so on, in order to learn more. So I won’t mention those other techniques in this writing but know they definitely are there.)

Looking at the heavy verbiage in the ads compared with the actual wants and needs of the ones posting the ads, there’s a pressing question that begs being answered. “Why are we bothering with such complicated language? Why not just come out and say precisely what we want as directly as possible so that there’s as little confusion?” Lawyers and judges saw the light in this regard years ago. In fact, the American Bar Association sort of ran up a smoke flag that directed lawyers, legislators, and judges to say what they meant in layman’s English so that everyone would understand what was being said. It was useless to make the verbiage so complicated that Einstein couldn’t make heads nor tails of the whole thing and if someone that astute was getting confused about the message, the message was not written very well in the first place.

It’s my theory that we’re complicating the terminology being used in recruiting so that recruiters will sound like they’re very intelligent, astute, individuals. Further theory, this complicated jargon is simply some secret society recruitspeak so that recruiters can feel quite elitist in their endeavors and therefore justified in barring certain individuals from being included among their precious number. So much for the theories. If it is true, it’s quite sick. If I’m off base, then let’s just laugh it off as something else that’s far out there.

But the next time you see an ad for a position you thought you were qualifed, and upon reading the ad you felt you knew nothing about the position, don’t give up on it and move along to the next ad. Actually, that’s what they’re hoping you’ll do because nine times out of ten, the advertiser is attempting to cut down the number of applicants to just those who are truly interested and qualified.

Actually, don’t give up on the ad at all. Re-read the ad. Read it carefully. Determine the core skills they need. Boil the terminology down to the most basic terms in order to capture what’s being advertised.

What are the fundamental skills required for that type of position? Ohhhhhhhh. You want that, eh? How many years? Well, I don’t have that many years of paid employment experience but I do have a lot of volunteer experience in that area. Perhaps that’s what you’re actually seeking. Let’s see, in the three years that I performed those functions, I worked alone. But when we hit crunch time, I trained and oversaw the work of five other volunteers so that we could roll things out on time, every time. I strategized with the volunteer coordinator and the person orchestrating the project in order to line up the right talent and scheduled them so that there was no glut of personnel crowding the office at any time — just a smooth stream of people who were well directed and professional, doing their work and representing the organization in a positive way. We doubled membership and sponsors after each event during the time I was there.

You see, that was just plain peoplespeak without the pain of convoluted poly-syllabic iterations of somethingorother. It just explained the work without painting monolithic murals. It was just plain and clear English. It went a lot farther in clarifying what was requested and what was done.

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