Hiring: The Hidden Job Description

The internal standards we used to hire a candidate is way different from the job description posted on the company’s career website. It could be that the company’s using a standard hiring process with a generic job description, or it could be that the hiring managers intentionally keep the description vague so that we can be flexible in the hiring process. Published or not, we as hiring managers has to be crystal clear about the expectation of the position we are hiring for.

Smart Question use The hidden job description to describe these unpublished internal job description. The hidden job descriptions, unfortunately, will not be clear unless you written them down and validate them with the right principals. For example, not all expectations for the position are equal, some are crucial, some are important, while some are just nice to have.

The first thing SQ suggest us to do is to write down the job descriptions. Then you need to differentiate the crucial skills v.s. important skills. And then you should design your questions around the expectations. The most important piece is to trying to find out whether the candidate is a match for the position.

For example, I would want to hire a tech lead for my own team and hence the following three qualities are important for the person to be successful in this position:

  • Technical leadership

D: The ability to design, plan and organize the tech initiative from the day to day tech decision making to architecture change. Q: Can you describe to me how the project is organized in your current team and your responsibilities in organizing the work?

  • Tech mentorship

D: The ability to mentor and develop the team member’s tech skills as well as unleveling the team’s tech craftsmanship. Q: Can you give me a few examples how you help the team members that at different stages to develop their tech skills?

  • Communication skills

D: The abilities to work with different product and engineering team to drive the various initiatives related to the team. Q: Can you describe to me the challenges you faced when you drive a major initiative?

I would say the tech leadership and communication skills are crucial, while the tech mentorship can be developed and hence I rate it as important.

The hidden job description not only applies to professional recruiting, but also apply to other scenarios like looking for life partner. Not every time our answer to the question of “what is your expectation for your life partner?” is clear and well thought. Most of the time they are vague expectations.

People seeking life partner through online dating app is facing the same challenge as when they search for a job. Each of us have multiple choices while we have very limited time to know each other. The time we can spend with each candidate is very limited and when we are trying to evaluate the candidate, we are also being evaluated. Whether we can effectively find out the possibilities of matching with another person, whether we could present out self clearly to hopefully send out the right signals is a challenge.

The framework presented in SQ hence can also be applied to the dating interviews. First write down the hidden job description, then find out the what’s going to be crucial for you and design your question around that. In the mean time, present your self clearly during the dating to help the other person understand your expectations faster.

However, dating interview is different from job interview, even if a candidate matches with all our expectation, it is not guaranteed that we would develop the relationship with him/her, as passion something that we can’t define ore measure, is still the driven factor in establishing the relationship.

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