Saturday, July 11, 2009

The 7 Biggest People Mistakes - #3: Using Job Descriptions That Don't Match What You Really Need

Seen this before? 5-7 years of direct experience in 'x' position. Positive team player. Ability to grow team (dept) profitably with demonstratable track record. Developed budgets or managed a P/L, etc... You get the picture. Add some more that I may have missed too.

Here's the deal. Job descriptions are the most well intentioned documents in the world but the worst documents to use in hiring. Why, you say? We've spent a lot of time developing these and they show what we want. I'd say they miss in some very critical ways.

First, they miss because you might not be tying your company's situation, either present or future, to the role you're hiring for. For example, is your company a start-up with chaos galore or are you a well established company who's greatest fault is you have a bunch of dead-wood or huge complacency internally to take it to the next level. Maybe its a company that is broke or broken and needs a complete turn around. Get the picture? All very different situations. Hiring a turn around person is different from hiring someone who will just maintain the existing status quo.

Let's do another. JD's don't scale into interviewing or decision hiring tools. You've built the JD out, so now define the top 'must haves' in the role and then weight each of them with the goal of your total number adding up to 100%. Next, slide in a column to score the candidates on a 1-10 scale on how well they fulfill each 'must have'. What you should end up with is a very objective way to score everyone in an unbiased way v. liking someone because they come from your hometown or alma mater.

One more. Use a hiring profile tool. Does the person really have the attributes you want? You want a self-starter? You want a bull-dog prospecting machine? You can find this out and never even have to speak to a candidate. Yep, true. You can also use this and your weighting tool to drill into the candidate to demonstrate proven examples of where they demonstrated success in your specific needs.

The classic saying goes: 'measure twice; cut once'. Don't be too quick to hire without a couple simple tools in place first.

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