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Published Articles by David Balovich

Title: Recruiting and Selecting Employees
Published in: Creditworthy News
Date: 6/26/02

A client of ours just went through a painful experience of having to terminate a new employee. The problem? They hired the wrong person.

The hiring of a new employee is a very important function. Organizations are finally beginning to realize that employees are their most important asset. The development of appropriate hiring practices can prevent the costly error of hiring the wrong person for a particular position. Hiring the wrong person can cost thousands of dollars in advertising, interviewing, training, and administrative expenses. Then there is the time lost in the selection process, disruption to the department due to a position needing to be filled, and the negative effects on productivity and morale when a new hire performs a job unsuccessfully.

Many are of the opinion, incorrectly, that recruitment and selection are functions of human resource specialists and that line managers need not be involved in the process. However, there are many reasons why all managers should be skilled in recruitment and selection of new employees. In many small firms HR departments tend not to exist and managers are expected to do their own recruitment and hiring. Even in the large firms with human resource departments, the HR staff can never know as much as the department manager about the quirks of the position, the politics of the department, or the type of individual who could best perform the job. Only in entry-level clerical positions should managers consider delegating the recruitment and selection process to the HR specialists.

One of the most important tools in the selection process is the job description. In order to prepare a proper job description one must be thoroughly familiar with the duties and requirements of the job before one can select the best person to perform it. This becomes a problem for those individuals who are responsible for a department’s activities but have never played a functional role in it’s operations.  In order to acquire familiarity, one must conduct a job analysis, which entails learning about the daily tasks and special skills required of the employee.  Observe employees at work, interview employees, administer a questionnaire about job requirements, and utilize written job descriptions. All of these methods will provide one with an accurate and comprehensive picture of the position that needs to be filled.

In addition to outlining job duties, the analysis should determine other job specifications, such as education level, prior work experience, specialized abilities, and necessary personality characteristics. It is essential that these determinations not be arbitrary. For example, if the job could be done by someone without a college degree or without five years of experience, then to demand such specifications would be discriminatory. There are several documented cases where an existing employee was not considered “qualified” for a position because they lacked education or specific time on the job but were then assigned to train the new employee. If an employee is qualified to train then they should be considered qualified to assume the duties of the position. All requirements should be directly linked to job performance.

Once the position has been analyzed a realistic and specific job description should be prepared. It should include all the duties and responsibilities performed in the job, arranged in order from most often to least often performed. Other items to include are position title, reporting relationship, salary grade and range, and work schedule. These elements are especially important for job descriptions provided to applicants.

Outlining the job specifications is an essential step that precedes the actual recruiting. By clearly identifying the duties of the position, necessary skills, and important personality characteristics ahead of time, one can make more efficient use of the interview and enhance the selection decision. It can also reduce the number of unqualified applicants, since some will not apply if they lack specific skills or do not want to perform certain duties.

In our next column we will discuss recruiting sources and screening applicants.

I wish you well.

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