Companies need to rethink how they’re hiring. In many cases, that means rewriting job descriptions.
Far too often, companies ask who they want to hire before figuring out what, exactly, they’re hiring for. In a recent post on LinkedIn, Lou Adler, CEO of The Adler Group, describes this problem as “defining the person” before “defining the job.”
Adler argues that the majority of job postings he sees on LinkedIn or Indeed.com focus on desired skills, experience, and academics. But more often than not, he notes, the people who get promoted internally into those same positions don’t necessarily match the candidate description. Instead, they have a record of strong performance. The company knows they can accomplish the tasks the position will entail.
“It seems obvious that if a company wants to hire people who are both competent and motivated to do the work required, they need to start by defining the work required,” Adler writes. “Yet somehow this basic concept is lost when a new job opens up. Instead of defining the job, managers focus on defining the person. The end result is not a job description at all, but a person description.”
To hire the best people possible, it’s essential that the company start by defining the work itself. Only then are you ready to ask what kind of person best fits the bill.
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