Sunday, September 13, 2009

Recruitment Strategy Development - The Dreaded Job Description

In our last blog, “Recruitment Strategy Development – The Best Qualified Candidate Rarely Gets Hired”, we discussed if a Hiring Manager has not been taught how to interview, they certainly have not been taught how to select a qualified candidate.

For the purposes of Recruitment Strategy Development, RecruiterGuy ties the job description and the interviewing process together. Why? The job description should be specific enough that the skills required to be successful are crystal clear – and at the same time give a company the latitude to change duties as the business requires.

Since whole books have been written on successful interviewing, it is best to separate the Job Description blog from the Interviewing blog. In practice, they are tightly tied together in successful organizations. In many of RecruiterGuy’s clients since 1981, the hiring managers do not take the time to examine exactly what skills are necessary to improve their team at this current point in time. When asked to discuss the opening in their organization, they tell the recruiter to go to Human Resources to get the Job Description. In my experience, Human Resources should be the last stop for a job description to ensure the position responsibilities described is the position level the manager has budgeted.

“Just get it from HR” is exactly the wrong response from the manager. Remember my last post – “The Best Qualified Candidate Rarely Gets Hired”? Another reason for the poor selection of employees is that the manager and interviewing team are not looking for the correct candidate skills to be successful.

Think of your work team as a sports team. What do Championship Teams do well? The fundamentals. They recruit players who fit their strategies. Another analogy is building a house. If your footings are not square, your walls will not be square.

A good job description is the foundation of every point of the recruiting process. Therefore beginning the recruitment process by doing the proper due diligence on the job description is absolutely required in order to attract the Impact Performers.

It is always a good idea to list all of the day to day functions of the position. This part of the process helps the manager decide if the position should evolve into a higher or lower position than what their manager originally had budgeted. If someone leaves their group or is promoted, this provides the manager with the opportunity to upgrade their staff and find someone who can bring new skills to the function.

They may decide that the position no longer requires certain skills because of automation. On the other hand, automation of duties may actually give the manager an opportunity to hire a more strategic individual. Until they take the time to truly understand where that position is evolving, it is difficult at best to determine the skills necessary to be successful.

Once they list the day to day (tactical) functions, list the skills necessary to perform those skills. Now decide which skills are critical to the successful completion of those functions. Some skills are “nice to have”. Can you see how this process helps the Interviewing process evolve more towards metrics and further away from “My gut tells me…”?

Now list the strategic functions of the job. They could include special projects that you may want that person to complete in the year. List the skills necessary to be successful in the completion of the strategic functions. Again, which skills are critical and which are “nice to have”. Obviously some skills may overlap depending on the position.

Is this a people management position? If so, what management duties are tactical and what duties are strategic? What Management skills are critical and what are nice to have?

Can you see how all of this information can help you grade the position and better determine whether someone is a good fit?

Of course some Managers are already doing these types of due diligence but would like something to help tie everything together.

Here is a suggestion that I have been making to Hiring Managers for quite a few years now. Determine and list the 3 month, 6 month, 9 month, and 12 month goals for the position. Now the skills required to be successful in the first year should become crystal clear for everyone on the interviewing team. This gives them something that may be better measured than a gut check.

The added advantage is that these goals give the manager and the new employee discussion points to discuss every time they meet during the critical first year. On the first day, the manager should sit down with the new employee and ask, “Do you remember our conversation on the goals for this position? Let’s review our expectations for you for the first year.” Later when the manager meets on the Friday of the new employee’s first week, it is good to ask how the week went and what the new employee experienced their first week. “What happened that you expected? What was a surprise for you? As the manager meets with the new employee over the first year, they may use these goals as talking points. For instance, “How are you doing on your 3 month goals? Do you need any assistance from me?” At the end of the year, there will not be any surprises on either side during the annual review.

When a manager makes a great hire, they develop a nice bounce to their step. Things move smoothly and they will be promoted. If they make a poor hire, what does it cost them and the company? Does it cost the manager credibility? Possibly more than you ever dreamed.

Which manager do you want to be? Isn’t developing a solid job description worth it? In RecruiterGuy’s next Recruitment Strategy Development blog, we will discuss the next steps of the Interview Process.