Is Your Latest Recruit Fit For the Job At Hand

by Nada Andersen
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Actually, is any of your employees truly, completely fit for the role they are employed to perform?

To answer such questions, as a CEO you must have a system in place in your organization that clearly defines employee roles and provides clarity and guidance through well-written Job Objectives and Job Descriptions. And yes, these are two different things.

Job Objectives provide clarity on why this particular job exists within the organization. They define key performance areas of the job. Usually, Job Objectives are written in collaboration with the employee who is already in the job for enough time to understand the job and its role in the organization.

Job Objectives are the key guidance to the employee. When in doubt about performing any task that is becoming a part of the routine, each employee should review Job Objectives and find a connection. If none, employee should seek guidance because his performance will be affected by performing tasks that are not related to his Job Objectives.

Job Description is a more detailed explanation of various aspects of the job, and how the job interacts with internal and external customers of the organization. Internal customers are colleagues, coworkers, team members, subordinates and superiors. External customers are everyone else outside the company and some companies include here employee’s family and friends, depending on the company’s culture and company’s brand ambition.

In combination, Job Objectives and Job Description are a fantastic tool to explain the employee exactly what to do, and with great clarity why he is doing the job. Any employee would be glad to get Job Objectives and Job Description in the very first week of their existence with the company. This is really the resuly of most people in our workforce wanting to know exactly what they are supposed to do, and what they are not supposed to get involved in. This hugely stems from our collective dire need for dong the right thing in order not to be reprimanded or criticized – which is somewhat (albeit not scientifically diagnosed) our national phobia.

If we play on this fear of criticism correctly, as CEOs we can develop another tool to help employees understand their jobs, as well as perform the tasks required by their roles. It is essential that, together with employees, we develop individual Performance Evaluation Guidelines. To simplify the reasoning: to earn 100% of monthly salary, each employee should perform 100% of what is required. So if we don’t provide guidelines on how to measure this 100% performance, we will not be able to get it out of the employee. Which means the company will be paying the employee based on Employment Contract that is one-sided where employee has no parameters against which to deliver his part.

Obviously, CEOs of complex and large organisations delegate all these tedious activities to their HR departments but it is only prudent to review the output of your HR department periodically. This can be done by requesting an informal meeting with any employee and reviewing their Job Objectives, Job Description and Performance Evaluation Guidelines together, probing for employee’s understanding of the job and requirements. Likewise, any CEO should take time to sit in a few Appraisal sessions, again to get a feel if the HR department is doing it right, if there’s two-way communication, if the employee is satisfied and agreeable to the result of his appraisal – basically to ensure connection is being made and employee provided with a platform for excelling at his job.

But, is the employee in the right job from the start? How do you ensure that? What is the scope of investment required to get the right recruit in the right job, to make that fit right from the start?

Some organisations use head-hunters for senior positions. Others use internal mechanisms for evaluation and recruitments. Sometimes weeks of work are gone on evaluating CVs and applications and thereafter weeks of work are gone on sitting in interviews, engaging numerous key people. And still, your chances to get the right person for the job you have advertised are 50-50.

I’ll list common causes for failure, in no particular order and this is not an exhaustive list, feel free to add your own.

Nepotism and returning favours. Someone had influenced the panel and the job is given to a candidate that comes highly recommended from a person your panel can’t refuse. This is very common and unspoken. You as a CEO are not supposed to know – or – you as a CEO will make this decision on behalf of the panel.

Candidate’s interview preparation. Some candidates spend huge amount of time preparing for interviews, researching answers to common interview questions, tailoring answers to their personality and the job on offer, tailoring their personality to the job on offer. Many candidates will act the role so well, but only on the interview day. The moment they get the job, they will become their old and very different selves.

Roadblocks. This also translates in no genuine interest within the panel to employ a person that’s better than themselves. Senior employees too often fear of the potential of the younger recruits and are prepared to let go of an excellent catch for the company in order to keep their own chair safe from any performance-related attack. Some simply do not want the boat rocked too much, others don’t want anyone to outshine them. So they lay roadblocks for the candidates and always choose a lesser threat.

How to manage wrong recruitment will require a long answer but the short of it would be to hire the best person for the job, without compromising. Use any or all tools available to you to get the right candidate. Sometimes it will go over your budget but if you are convinced, go for it. Because successful organisations are built by great people, nothing less.

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