Defining and Knowing the Position

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Before you can ever begin to hire a new employee, you have to know what you are hiring them for. You must first know what the position calls for and what type of person the job will need. During interviews, you will need to be able to define and describe to the potential employee so that they are not surprised or left in the dark. Being prepared yourself can help prepare the employee as well.

Know the Position

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When preparing to hire a new employee, your first step should be to know what position you intend to hire them for. After all, you can’t buy new tires if you don’t know the model of the car, or what size you’ll need! One way is to learn what type of person worked the position before it came open and learn what kind of performance they had. They can be the key to determining what kind of person you will need to find next. If the position is newly created, speak with department managers and draw from them the type of person will be needed. This research will help get a better idea of what the job entails and what skill sets will be needed, which can help you form a more accurate job description to share with potential candidates.

Points to determine:

  • What does this position require?
  • What kind of skills will be needed?
  • How did the previous employee handle the position?
  • Have we ever had this position before?

Needs Analysis

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Hiring a new employee can be a great asset to the company – if they are needed. When you have a new position to fill, it is a good opportunity to review your company’s organizational needs and if there are any gaps or ‘overfilled’ areas. Determine if you will need the usual one person to fill the job, or maybe you will need multiple people to fill the roles. Are other areas affected by the change? If so, how? 

When looking at the position, and its surroundings, what kind of needs does this job fulfill for the organization? What key responsibilities need to be included when creating the job description for this position? You want a candidate that will help the organization succeed and thrive in the new opening. When you look at your current staffing, find out if your current staffing is meeting these needs and responsibilities, and if not, how can they be fulfilled? Review for any holes and what is specifically needed to fill them. Sometimes we might be able to fill the position by altering a role already established in the company, but if you can’t, you’ll need to proceed with creating a job description to post for outside job seekers.

Job Analysis

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A job analysis is a process used by managers and recruiters to collect information about the job position, including the required duties, skills, and responsibilities. Many of these details are key aspects that can make up a job description. Start with the job title, since this is the ‘headliner’ for the job and can give the applicant an idea of what it may or may not include. Titles such as “Customer Service Representative” or “Business Accountant” can give hints as to what the job entails, while still leaving room open for additional job titles or duties.

The important thing to remember is that a job analysis focuses on the job itself, not the person working, or soon to be working it. Often times we forget that we are collecting information about an opening in the company since we spend so much time conducting questionnaires and surveys from the people in the company. The job analysis is supposed to help the hiring personnel determine a position’s ‘readiness’ to be filled, and what exactly is needed to accomplish that.

Common tasks of a job analysis:

  • Reviewing necessary job responsibility
  • Determining the required duties and tasks of the position
  • Researching similar job postings in and outside the company
  • Deciding how to market the position effectively

Task Analysis

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After the job analysis is complete, many tasks and duties are defined and can further be analyzed for the perfect employee candidate. A task analysis is similar to a job analysis, but this process breaks down how a task is completed and what materials are necessary to do it. This can include basic task activities, such as processes and materials, and expand all the way to determining task length, difficulty, energy or other unique characteristics of the position. Once the task analysis is gathered, the information can be helpful during the development of personnel criteria and employee training. 

Most of the time, the best way to complete a task analysis is to work with the employee in that position and their surrounding peers to observe their actions and what procedures they follow. These people are the best way to obtain firsthand information on what is, or isn’t, performed on the job. However, if this person is not available, or the position has been created recently, then research with outside companies or agencies with similar positions can be a better resource.

Case Study

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Brenda was preparing to hire a new accountant in the company’s business office. However, this position was under the business finance department, rather than the customer service finance department, so Brenda was unfamiliar with the job duties that entailed. She went to the department manager and asked them to explain the job to her. She took notes on the needed duties and procedures and what would be expected of the new employee. She verified that they only needed one more employee for the job, and that they could not split the responsibilities between current employees. When Brenda finished speaking with the manager, she had enough information to form a detailed job description that she could share with potential candidates and try to fill the position right away.