Probably most hiring mistakes can be prevented if you take time to carefully analyze the job and exactly what you’re looking for before you start your search.
It sounds obvious and simple, but it’s not. It’s actually much more difficult to determine the specific qualities necessary to handle a job successfully than most people realize.
Focus On Results You Want To See
The job description is a good starting point, but you need something that does much more than only describe the job. You need to identify the specific qualities and personal attributes necessary to get the results you want.
Most jobs are more a perception of performance than a tangible thing. It’s a common mistake when analyzing a job to fail to fully consider the intangibles of attitude and motivation.
Start with the job description, but expand it to a couple pages with a focus on the specific results the job should achieve. By concentrating on results, it helps to clarify the performance you expect.
Be as specific here as you can. Try to identify precisely the duties and responsibilities they’ll be expected to accomplish – the results you need to see. Then prioritize this list so that the most important duties that will fill most of the employee’s workday is number one, and so forth on down the line.
Consider carefully the personality traits it will take to accomplish these results. Must the person be a self-starter? Are good communication skills essential? Able to handle pressure?
What obstacles must be overcome to achieve these results? Does the individual need to be persistent? Do they have to be patient with difficult people? Need to be able to work on several projects at once?
Be Clear About The Negatives
Its important to consider carefully the negatives of the job. Many jobs come down to coping with the tension from the negatives. What’s your work environment like? How does your salary and compensation compare with others in your labor market?
Unfortunately, many jobs are dead-ends so the career motivations of the applicant needs be considered. A person may need a job very much at a particular moment, but their motivation will determine over the long haul how long they stay. It’s not good for you or the candidate if they become disenchanted and leave after a short period of time.
You need to fully consideration the job’s negatives and make them clear to an applicant before you hire them. Think about it… what’s the worst thing about the job? Remember, you don’t want to conceal the negatives from the candidate.
Prioritize Your Most Important Success Factors
Once you’ve created your list of personality characteristics, organize them into three columns labeled
2) Important and
Then identify the three or four characteristics from the personality profile that have the most bearing on their ability to handle the job successfully.
You’ll probably never find the perfect candidate with the qualities listed in all three columns at the price you want to pay. The real trick is to clearly identify the essentials so the list is realistic and meaningful.
Knowing these essential characteristics will help focus your thoughts and feelings on exactly what you’re looking for. These essential traits will guide your search and be the focus of your interview questions.
The Americans with Disabilities Act makes this written job analysis more important than ever to document good faith compliance with hiring law. You must determine what job functions are essential, and make hiring criteria directly related to these essential functions.
Be Realistic About Job Qualifications
It’s a common mistake to overestimate the qualifications needed to do a job. Think about it – were you a hundred percent qualified to undertake every job you’ve tackled?
Qualifications are often overestimated, and the ability of people to learn new tasks is often underestimated. Knowing what depth of experience you need is important, but it’s frequently a confusing area.
You need to arrive at a range of the years experience or educational level needed. The problem is that this figure is often rather arbitrarily arrived at.
Remember that the number of years experience on the surface doesn’t tell you much without knowing exactly what kind of experience it was.
Keep in mind the range of years experience you feel you need, but be prepared to consider applicants outside that range if they have other qualifications.
Get Feedback From Staff
Take your job analysis and personality profile and circulate it with your staff for feedback and revision. While of course the person leaving the job should be the most knowledgeable about its demands, be cautious of the natural tendency to exaggerate the difficulty of the job.
Keep the intangibles in mind, the work environment and company culture. Studies on employee turnover show that technical skill or ability is usually not the reason people leave a job. Rather, it’s the feeling the work environment or management style just wasn’t right for them.
A job opening’s actually an excellent opportunity to recreate the job’s responsibilities, and fine tune it. You can adjust for any compromises you might have made to accommodate the person who’s leaving.
You need to remember to be realistic in your expectations regarding compensation and salary. You might have to lower your sights, change the job title or raise the salary to fill the job that you have in mind.