Monday, November 7, 2011

I Need a Hero

Where have all good men (candidates) gone
And where are all the gods?
Where’s the street-wise Hercules (manager)
To fight the rising odds?
Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and I turn and I dream of what I need

I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ‘til the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight

I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero til the morning light
He’s gotta be sure
And it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life
-Holding Out for a Hero, Bonnie Tyler
The Alpha Hero

As a romance writer, I’m a fan of the alpha hero. For those that don’t read romance, an alpha hero is self-confident, disciplined, dependable, strong, intelligent, caring, funny, handsome… You get the picture. Think Jack Bauer from 24 or Han Solo from Star Wars. Even an Alpha hero’s flaws are desirable. I love to read about them, or watch them in movies and television, and I love to write about them.

The Alpha Candidate

As a Human Resources professional, I’m often amused by job postings that advertise for alpha candidates. You’ve seen these descriptions. They are often 700 words long and read like a want ad for a person that has seen and done it all in their respective field and possesses expertise in every skill imaginable. This candidate can come in and single-handedly lead the charge to manage change, drive innovation, annihilate the competition, and fix the bottom line. Mere mortals need not apply.

Let’s be real. Even Steve Jobs – to some an innovative genius and for others Steve the Tyrant - was human.

Alpha ads make it difficult for applicants to discern what you really need and want for the position.  I suspect that alpha job descriptions are the result of harried hiring managers that don’t have the time to train someone, so they want it all – or – they aren’t clear on what would make someone successful in the posted position. They throw the posting out there and see what sticks.

When has that ever worked well?