We live in a world where our options seem limitless, a world where we are told we can have it all, a world where we not only expect the impossible from ourselves but also from those around us. This is a harmful lie and if we carry it into our business hiring decisions, a potentially crippling one.

Because we live in that fantasy world, thinking there’s a perfect mythical creature called the Ideal Candidate, we create lengthy and unrealistic “must haves” on our job postings and then we wonder why we are disappointed.

If you’re the owner of a widget making factory looking for an Executive Assistant and your job description looks something like this: then you’re doing it wrong.

Looking for Executive Assistant for widget making factory. Must have ten years of experience with organizing and scheduling for busy executives, must have a graduate degree, must understand everything about the history of widget making, their purpose, and how to convey the need for widgets to everyone you encounter, and be an Eagles fan. Please submit a thirty page report on widget’s impact on our world today. Pay will be in widgets.

The only thing at all relevant in the above description is “experience with organizing and scheduling for busy executives.” The rest of it is completely unnecessary. It doesn’t matter how many years of experience they have, what their degree is (if any), their views on sports and it’s especially not important that they are an expert on the history of widgets.

The widget part is the part that you as the owner of said widget factory are an expert on. What you are not an expert on is on organizing and scheduling. What you are is a busy executive who needs someone specifically qualified to do that, and only that, so you can do the stuff that only you can do.

So stop hunting for mythical creatures in your candidate search and get real about the number one priority you actually must have in your next hire. If you need help, let us know!