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Why not to recruit the egg-laying wool-milk-pig

I recently came across the German expression of the impossible: “Eierlegende Wollmilchsau” (freely translated into “Egg-laying wool-milk-pig”). Not sure why I had missed that expression to date as it is the perfect way to describe that one 100% perfect, but totally unrealistic and impossible supercandidate. It also happens to be the name of a German recruitment marketing company – BRILLIANT!

We have all been there. There is a new vacancy in the company and we actively start brainstorming about the ideal candidate. Skills, competencies and requirements are added almost at will, resulting in the impossible job vacancy. We know that this person really does not exist and, more importantly, we know we will never be able to find him or her. We have set ourselves up for failure even before we started looking for candidates.

Here are 3 ways to avoid recruiting the impossible, non-existent egg-laying wool-milk-pig:

#1: Recruit people and not CV’s

When looking at CV’s, you will be able to identify a historic perspective on the candidate, broadly navigating around the truth. It will allow you to see if your criterion are met in terms of past work experience and education, but it is hardly a demonstration of skills past or future. My advice: use CV’s only to see if your hygiene factors have been met and keep these factors at a realistic minimum.

#2: Energy as the premier selection criterium!

Once candidates have past the stage of CV selection and possible phone-screens, they enter the phase of on-site interviews. In many cases interviews are still unstructured and based on a first impression. In reality, job interviews are often an institutionalized ritual around the main question, “do we think this person can be sucesful in the role here?” This boils down to the question if someone has the right energy level, adaptability and skills.

#3: Allow room for positive surprise

If your job description is too detailed and you had too many selection criteria in your pre-screening of the CV, you will kill all creativity in your recruitment process… promised! I personally have made a conscious effort in the past years to always ask the candidate what other talent(s) they can contribute apart from what I have asked or put in a job description. This has resulted in some of my best hires and in creative job descriptions, co-designed with the candidate. Please don’t limit yourself and open yourself to be surprised!

My advice: stop looking for egg-laying wool-milk-pigs. They really don’t exist and starting a search for them can only lead to disappointment. Instead focus on seeing people behind the CV, gauge their energy level and be surprised about their talents. It just so happens that video interviews will allow you to do that… Happy Hiring!

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