Think Before You Hire! Job Description Strategies

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Recruiting to hire the right people to promote success is a true challenge. We have created a number of systems and strategies that we share with our clients to help them identify the right candidate for their needs, but without a proper game plan it’s impossible to determine what the right candidate looks like. And as we have discussed in the past, a bad hiring decision can be extremely costly.

We recently blogged about some of the steps Accolo recommends when evaluating job candidates. However, before interviewing qualified candidates, you need to have a solid plan in place to understand what types of candidates you are seeking and how they might fit into the organization.

Job-DescriptionWe recommend preplanning your workforce before you start recruiting. Assess the technical skills needed for the position that needs to be filled:

  • – Evaluate the organizational structure and be sure that the open position has a clear purpose that supports your company mission.
  • – Clearly define the open position and ensure that an appropriate Job Description has been developed.
  • – Determine the minimum qualifications for the position. Are there special credentials that need to be defined (CPA, MA, MD, PhD, etc.)? Are there certain experience levels that are required, or a number of years of service?

– Analyze the compensation plan. Remember you get what you pay for. Performing a compensation analysis will tell you if you are competitive and can attract the best candidates.

When creating the job description, the mistake many recruiters and hiring managers make is writing a skills-based job description that only outlines the requirements to do the job, rather than the desire to fulfill the role. A performance-based job description provides a better measurement of how the candidate will perform since it defines the expectations for the position.

For example, consider the job description for a telephone sales position. A skills-based job description would include:

  • – A college degree
  • – Industry experience
  • – Strong interpersonal skills
  • – Two years of sales or customer service experience

The criteria are quite broad. How many candidates would qualify or think they qualify for that type of a position? Now, if you take the same job and describe it using a performance-based job description, it might include:

  • – Make 150 outbound calls per day
  • – Achieve sales quota within 90 days
  • – Achieve 20 percent customer renewal rate
  • – Handle inbound customer calls and handle routine customer issues

The performance-based job description sets the expectations for the candidate so he or she can determine if this job is really right for him or her. More importantly, it provides a benchmark that allows management to objectively assess the candidate’s performance.

Research also shows that an effective job description should cover:

  • – Day-to-day responsibilities so the candidate can determine if his or her interests align with those responsibilities. Daily schedules and a “day in the life” scenario will automatically weed out candidates who lack the drive to do the tasks required.
  • – Company fit, including alignment with the company culture and any potential career path.
  • – Employee expectations, including key performance indicators, required tasks, and job expectations.

With proper preplanning and laying a solid foundation before you start recruiting, it will be easier to narrow the field to a small number of suitable candidates. The right evaluation tools and criteria will make it easier to identify the top performers who can help the company achieve its goals.