A recent discussion on a community Slack channel has led to an interesting debate. The discussion centered around the desire for those who are hiring to keep their cards closely held while also needing to offer specifics for those who might be interested in the job. This seems to be a common problem in the startup ecosystem particularly with newcomers.
When looking for a new employee it is important to include some specifics in what the job entails. Otherwise, the job can fall to the wayside, with otherwise qualified applicants failing to even register the opportunity because of the lack of information. With that said, how can a company looking to hire offer enough information to pique the interest of a potential new hire without disclosing too much information?
Depending upon the position, it is important to offer some information. The position in question for this debate was for a CTO/developer that would also be able to take over full leadership of tech aspects of a business. There is little in the description regarding what the actual job would entail.
For this position, and any other, it is necessary to know what the actual specifics are on what is required. For the CTO position, if there were specific platforms or programming languages that are required, that information should be included. Job-specifics can be shielded, but information such as language is not revealing of proprietary or otherwise private information.
There was concern that not even the type of business was included; in looking for a talented leader knowing what the area of operation is would be necessary in order to ensure a good fit. Hiring is a time-intensive, and often expensive, endeavor and a great way to ensure only qualified applications seek out the position is to include what the business is.
There seems to be a common misconception among newcomers to the field that specific information would otherwise be detrimental to their search for a qualified candidate. In reality, the opposite is true. Keeping pertinent details out of the call for an open position is ensuring that those who may be qualified never know if they are, and can make a hiring process-which is already challenging-even more so.
There is also the need to communicate effectively, and this means in the call for applications for a position and in sharing that information. There is a need to have a clear understanding of what the organizational needs are, and then having the proper tools to share that knowledge with the public. The poster of the original job listing that sparked this debate shows a disconnect between the ad and the position, with the initial ad not including information that the search is for a co-founder.
The focus on keeping all of the cards close to their chest is then overshadowed by a poorly communicated response to an offer of assistance in creating a better job description that would elicit more responses. For those newcomers looking for employees this is a great lesson in the need to share actual information, and not in vague terms, while also being able to communicate that need effectively and to the right audience.
Otherwise, with such vague requests a dime a dozen, it would be beneficial to take the advice of Brad Bush in this conversation, “don’t be afraid to share your idea,” and to not hide behind NDAs and instead focus on the execution of the idea that many others likely have already had.