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Hiring Toolkit: Week 1 - Defining the Job

Thank you so much for joining me for this first week of the Hiring Toolkit for your business. This week we are looking into how you define the job.

What exactly is the job that you are hiring for?  This week we look at understanding exactly what you will want this new person to be doing for your company. Defining the job is the first step toward hiring. This is how you know what you are looking for when you receive resumes and start interviewing. By being very clear about the job you are hiring for, you are better able to find the person who is the right fit.

Identifying Vacancies

The first step toward hiring for a position is to identify the vacancy, or to identify where the organization needs additional support. It is good to keep in mind that it can take a long time to find the right candidate for your position and company, so it is best to start recruitment not less than six weeks before you would like a candidate to start working the position. It is best to start recruitment earlier for positions that require a particular skill set or a high degree of skill.

Job forecasting is when you determine your future hiring needs. Job forecasting helps you to know when you will need to fill positions. In order to forecast your needs consider planned employee departures, upcoming projects and plans for expansion. It is also good to remember that any of your employees could put in their notice and leave your company. So it is good to develop relationships with potential future hires even if you are not hiring right now.

Sometimes it will be appropriate to hire for similar positions that you have had in the past, other times you will need to create an entirely new position. You may have previously has a manager position which really should be a coordinator position. Or maybe you have realized that the needs of your company have changed and that you need to find someone with a different skill set than the person who has left your company. Keep an open mind as you are determining what the vacancy is. It may not be that you will hire for the exact position that existed previously.

Job Requirements

Describe the vacancy. Be as specific as possible. It is good to take time to write down exactly what the vacancy is. What are the days and hours that this person needs to be available to work?  What is the skill set that is needed for this position? What other requirements do you have for the position?

Job Requirements are legitimate business needs that are being filled with the position that you are hiring for.  It is important to have a clear idea of what the job requirements are for a position so that you know whether or not candidates qualify for the positions available.

Job requirements can include availability requirements, including not taking time off during the probationary period, physical requirements like being able to lift 30 lbs repeatedly, and communication skills requirements like being friendly and outgoing. 

Once you have decided on the job requirements for a position, any candidate who moves forward with an interview must meet those requirements without exception.

*If down the line in the hiring process you find that you are not getting applicants who qualify for the job requirements you are searching for, you can consider a few things. The first thing is to change the way that you are advertising the position and what groups you are advertising to. If you feel you have a great job ad that is going to the right people, consider your compensation range. It may be too low to attract the kind of candidate you want. If you can't budge on the compensation piece, consider changing the job requirements and hiring someone to perform a more limited scope.

Job Description

So, what is a job description?  This is a document that outlines the employee's responsibilities in their job.  The job description lists the job title, pay, benefits, job duties, and has a section at the end where the employee agrees that they are willing and able to perform the functions of the job.  It is normal to update and revise job descriptions as time goes on and you have more experience managing a certain position.

Job Title - This is the exact name of the position you are hiring for. It is important that the name of this position be carefully considered within the context of the other positions in your company. For example a Manager should not report to a Coordinator. Look at other organizations and how they have crafted job titles. Generally it is best to be a clear about the job as possible in the title.

Salary range - When you actually make an offer to a candidate you will write in this section the actual salary offer. In the beginning it is appropriate to define a salary range for the position. Typically someone with less experience will be offered the low end of the salary range, where as someone who is more qualified will be offered the middle of the salary range. Consider that this is the range for the position, so if you make an offer to someone at the top of the range then you will not be able to offer them raises. If someone caps out their salary range they must get a promotion or change in position in order to qualify for more pay.

Job Overview - This is a general summary of the responsibilities of the position, how the position fits into the management structure, and how the position contributes to the company's goals.

Job Responsibilities - This section should include the specifics of what the position is responsible for doing. It is important to be explicit about the employee's responsibilities in this section. If the employee is not performing the functions of the position, this is the foundational document you will use to engage in a corrective action process.

Physical Requirements - This section should include ay physical requirements for the position such as the ability to see, touch, type, feel, be in a hot environment, work in close proximity to others, etc. If you have an employee who goes out on medical leave, this paragraph will help the doctor to know when the employee is ready to return to work.

Signature - In this section the employee agrees that they are able to perform the functions of the position and signs.

Learn More

In this series we will focus on the four main pieces of the hiring process: defining the job, recruiting, interviewing and onboarding new employees.  The better we are at each of these steps the less likely it is we will bring someone into our company that just isn't the right fit.  As always our goal is to create systems that are fair for all built on best practices.

Each Monday, starting July 13, I will release the toolkit for the week, sending it to those of you who sign up to receive this information and posting the information on this website.

July 13: Define the Job

July 20: Recruiting

July 27: Interviewing

August 3: Onboarding

I welcome your comments on this work. If you would like me to clarify anything or would like to participate in a conversation about this work, please consider commenting or reaching out to me directly.

If you're interested in getting HR updates and learning about how to work with me, sign up for my newsletter, here.


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