Job Analysis

Employee recruitment is potentially a very subjective process and unless you take active steps to reduce the levels of subjectivity, you will find that more times than not you will make poor recruitment decisions based solely on gut feeling; and as a result you will be frequently caught out by people who ‘do good interviews’.
Worse still, without objective criteria to evaluate candidates your propensity to subconsciously select employees who ‘fit’ with your world view will increase, so ultimately you will end up with a lot of like-minded people in the business. This might sound like a good thing, but it certainly is not as a healthy diversity is far better in terms of business effectiveness.
To begin the process of reducing
subjectivity, job analysis seeks to answer two questions:
>> What do you want employees to do?
Knowing what it is you want your employees to do is a fairly basic requirement and most businesses now have defined job descriptions in place for every position.
If you don’t have them, you should address this weakness immediately; don’t assume that your employees are on the same wavelength as you when it comes to what their job involves and what results are expected. If you already have them, make sure they remain current and reflective of what is required and adjust them where necessary.
When using job descriptions as part of recruitment, keep the following points in mind:
 The earlier that you give them to potential candidates during the process the better, because before you interview them, you want to at least be sure that they know what the job will entail and are comfortable with that.
 Use the job descriptions to screen applicants based on what you want the employee to do versus what each candidate can do based on their CV.
 You may also develop specific technical or job-specific questions to ask during the interview based on the job description.
Apart from their use in recruitment, job descriptions also play an important role in managing employee performance because how can you ever measure an employee’s contribution if you haven’t clearly outlined to them what they are supposed to do? They can also be used in training and development to help identify individual training needs, so they are vital tools.
However, job descriptions only describe what you want a person to do; as part of recruitment, you also need to know what type of person you want for any given job.
As mentioned, you can generally find out what a candidate can do by analysing their CV or by looking at the past jobs they have held. When you
compare that to the job description you can get a fair idea as to whether they are right, in a competence sense, for a particular job in your business.
But when you seek to fill a vacant position, do you also have a defined picture in mind of what type of person you want, or is it a bit vague?

Unfortunately for a lot of managers, it’s the latter and they only have a general idea of what they are looking for. Consequently, their approach to interviewing goes somewhat like this: the first person who comes for interview on the day sets the benchmark. The second is either better or worse than the first and so on down the line. The problem with this approach is that each candidate is compared against the previous one, so you can be easily swayed by those who put on a good show at interview.
You avoid this trap by devising a profile of the ‘ideal candidate’ which serves as the basis for how you select from the pool of interviewees available. You may not find the ideal but you measure all candidates against that profile and select the individual who most closely matches it. An employee profile (often called an employee specification) essentially identifies the characteristics of the person you want to fill a particular position. You do not need a different profile for every position as you do with Job Descriptions, but you can have one for key types of jobs – customer facing and non-customer facing. So it’s not a major task.
Although it depends on the job you are recruiting for, in developing a profile of the ideal candidate, you could consider headings such as:

It is only through answering these questions and then clearly mapping out what you are looking for that you will enhance your prospects of recruiting someone who is more likely to engage with your business.
After all, an interview is supposed to help you determine if a candidate is the ‘right’ person for the job, but you can never do so unless you clarify what ‘right’ actually means. Another similar approach to drawing up an employee profile is to use the seven headings below:
Education Qualifications/ Training – are there any specific educational or training requirements?
Work experience – does the candidate need to have any particular level of previous work experience?
Skills and Knowledge – are there any particular skills and/or knowledge which are required for the job?
Physical Attributes – does the work involve strenuous lifting etc.?
Personality/Disposition – what type of personality might be most appropriate for this position? Will they be required to work as part of a team?
Communication Skills – does the position require the candidate to communicate with the public?
Personal Circumstances – are there unsocial working hours? Does the position involve travel?
We do not live in a perfect world so it
is unlikely we will find a candidate that fits the required profile perfectly. So, to help assess each candidate these headings can be examined under essential or desirable characteristics. Finally, it is vital that your employee profiles/specifications do not contain any requirements that ignore or contravene relevant employment legislation.
By having employee profiles in place, you can then devise a series of interview questions to draw out whether the candidate matches the profile and use them as part of your interview plan. As an example, let’s say you were looking for someone who was a team player. Of course you wouldn’t devise a question such as, are you a team player? That’s not going to tell you anything. Instead you might devise questions along the lines of:
 Give me some examples of where you felt you made a positive contribution to your team in the past?
 What do you think your previous team mates would say about working with you?
 What can you bring to our team that would set you apart from other candidates?
Developing and using well-structured questions, based on the employee profile, will help you get a better insight into a candidate’s true personality.

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