What’s missing from most job application packs?

You want to attract the best possible candidates for your vacancy.  You’ve prepared a detailed job description and person specification.  You’ve put together an attractive reward and benefits package.  You’ve included information about the organisation, its strategic vision, culture and achievements (or have this information easily accessible on the company website).  You’ve highlighted the exciting career prospects and development opportunities available to staff.  What could you possibly have forgotten?

There comes a stage in most people’s careers where the whole interview and selection process becomes a two-way thing.  It’s not just about the organisation choosing who they want to employ; job seekers also have their own list of essential and desirable factors that make for the ideal employer.  Job details are clearly important, as is information about the organisation and the context in which the job operates.  What tends to be missing, and is hard for job seekers to find for themselves, is information about the person who will be managing them.   There’s sometimes an indication of the job title, but unless this is a very senior post, it’s often nigh on impossible to find out much about the actual person.

It has been said that people leave managers not organisations; is it so unthinkable therefore that job hunters may want more than the briefest information about the one person who potentially has the power to make their working life a genuinely rewarding experience or a complete nightmare?  Is the opportunity to ask a few questions at the end of an interview really enough to reassure the applicant that they aren’t entrusting the future of their career to a complete psychopath?

It might perhaps be a step too far to expect the recruiting manager to complete an application form of the applicants’ own design (questions might include staff turnover rates, average number of sick days taken by team members and the amount per head invested in their development); similarly managers may be reluctant to provide references from two people they have managed.   At the very least however, the manager’s name should be provided, accompanied by a brief career history and perhaps the link to their LinkedIn profile.

As a recruiter, you wouldn’t rely on sketchy information and trust to make such an important decision as who to appoint to your vacancy.  Why then do you think a job applicant would be satisfied with knowing next to nothing about the person who possibly has the most significant influence over the success or otherwise of their next career move?