You bring up some good points about qualified vs hirable.
On average, we see a hiring rate of 1 placement for every 7-8 interviews (including 2nd, 3rd … interviews). Part of the falloff is due to cultural fit and part is due to incomplete job descriptions.
For the most part, hiring managers enjoy writing job descriptions about as much as you enjoy writing a resume and HR doesn’t always take the time to interview the hiring manager to get the real needs down on paper. I usually say that I don’t know what the real job is until the first candidate is presented. Once they’re faced with evaluating someone, the real needs, wants and don’t wants come out. This can be very frustrating for the job seeker applying to on-line job postings that they believe they are highly qualified for but never receive a response on.
Rarely do I see companies go back and update the job postings with feedback from the applicant and interview processes details. Earlier this year, I was working with a company that posted a position for a Supply Chain Director just to have a candidate come back from an interview and tell us that the position was really for a VP of Operations. All of the efforts (mostly wasted) from HR were directed at finding SCM Director candidates that completely missed the mark.
So how can you avoid this? Network and ask questions. Use LinkedIn to try and find someone that recently left that position/company and call them. Take some of what they say with a ‘grain of salt’ seeing that if it was all rosy they’d still be there but in general, most people will take a few minutes to tell you what the job entails. This is also very effective going into an interview as these are the people that will give you honest feedback about the hiring manager’s dos/don’ts likes/dislikes.