Identifying Your Ideal Employee
If you were to create the specification for an ideal employee. What would this person look like; what is it that would make them ideal?
Before the creation of an ideal employee it would be important to know what purpose this person was required to fulfil. This should be an easy question to answer when consideration is given to the job role.
A major difficulty in recruitment is in describing the job role. Many employers find this an ideal time to pad out the specification to find not just a replacement but the ideal replacement. This can often end up with the organisation seeking a Tall/Short person! The job vacancy may require someone who is;
“A team player able to get along well with colleagues and customers. Someone who can demonstrate that they have previously created a network of contacts in the XYZ industry”.
However, the temptation to add bells and whistles to the person specification is often too much to resist, so we start to add the following;
“The suitable person will also be able to pay careful attention to detail and analyse large amounts of data.” Viola! the ideal Tall/Short person specification.
This is a classic example where the employer is looking for a “personality package” that doesn’t exist in the real world. The employer hasn’t decided what’s crucial to the role.
Focusing on what’s important to deliver the service or product effectively seems to be a difficulty most organisations encounter when defining a job role clearly and succinctly. Whereas the job spec for the tall/short person is so easy to create yet impossible to fulfil.
Unless an entirely new role is being created it should be quite simple to identify a successful person in an existing role. Observing this person carrying out the job effectively should help with the criteria for the new person being sought. Simple but maybe not so easy to spot.
It is a truism that people are generally hired on aptitude and fired on attitude, yet most of the focus on recruitment is on aptitude and qualifications. Since these are the easiest to check and tick off against requirement lists, it is understandable that they are the first port of call.
Identifying attitude is much more of a challenge than focusing on skills, as the true personality of the chosen person does not normally become known until they have spent several months in the job role and by this time it could be too late. How can this costly mistake be avoided; what is it that needs to be done to more easily identify attitude at outset?
Are the skills and qualifications in the job spec really crucial to being effective in this job or is the job specification made up of things that would be nice to have?
Skills – is it important the person has them at outset or would it be better to train someone in the way the organisation wants things done? Many job adverts seek graduates. This often results in bored unmotivated staff since the job on offer never at any time required a graduate.
The Care Industry is populated with many people who have the necessary skills, yet the media constantly cites cases where things have gone horribly wrong. The tall/short person approach to job specifications is no longer an option. Something else needs to be considered.
Consider a potential applicant who thought themselves, sensitive, able and willing to talk to clients in a warm friendly manner yet still mindful of privacy issues; willing to work hard at maintaining a vulnerable person’s dignity, who might apply until they read on and encounter;
“- able to pay careful attention to detail and analyse large amounts of data.”
This is where they are most likely to rule themselves out of the running. Individuals are generally not good at everything. The personality who was able to get along well with colleagues and customers is at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of personality to the person required to pay careful attention to detail.
Taking energy away from their natural persona to deal with the opposite energy requirement would produce a watered down response. The tall/short person who is dysfunctional would be the result and they would become demotivated and leave.
An example of this is the person who is great at sales. The organisation brings in changes and wants this person to also excel at completing endless paperwork. The salesperson finds this frustrating because paperwork is not their strength, so they up sticks and leave. Now the organisation has no need for anyone to handle the paperwork as they have no sales.
It would have been much easier to find someone answering to a different spec whose strength was in dealing with paperwork and employ them, releasing the sales person to deliver even more sales.
How can you assess that the applicant has the right attitude and strengths for the job being offered?
Someone who is outgoing and gregarious could have the disposition sought for the job spec described above. Their demeanour would fit with others within the team, or organisation. They should certainly have a tendency to be a team player and be able to demonstrate that they have the ability to get along well with colleagues and customers, but how to find that person?
This is where personality profiling comes in. Profiling, as part of the values-based recruitment approach from Profiles4Care, provides many clues to the natural attitude and behaviours a person is comfortable using, i.e. their gifts or strengths. There is no right or wrong personality, however there could be a very wrong personality for the replacement to the role being sought.
Find the person who is currently very good at the job, have them complete a personality profile questionnaire to identify their personality type and then profile all applicants to find profiles matching this person’s. By doing this it is possible to find the tall person and the short person, but unlikely in the same package.