Why you need to profile a job before you hire for it

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Why you need to profile a job before you hire for it

Job profiling, or the process of clearly defining and documenting a role and its responsibilities, is a crucial step of the hiring process, but one that many employers skip. However, without a comprehensive job profile in place, many new employees are hired arbitrarily based on estimated job roles, and often put into the workplace with no real idea of what or how much is expected from them.

This naturally not only slows the recruitment process, but hinders the ability of even a good employee to perform well in their role – simply because there are no measurements in place or standards for them to follow. It’s important to profile a job before hiring, to give your top candidates the best chance at success.

What is a Job Profile?

A job profile describes the roles, responsibilities, and expected output for a given job within an organization. This profile should outline responsibilities and tasks, performance criteria, authority, and value-added activities. For example, a job profile should accurately define responsibilities and deliverables, alongside expected output and key performance indicators. This will enable the new employee to understand what is expected from them, while giving managers a way to measure success in the role, and to recognize high or low performance.

The most effective job profiles define what the employee should know, what they can do, and what targets will be used to track their outcomes.

Defining Expectations

Employers who do not have a job profile will often introduce a new employee into a team, and leave the team to introduce responsibilities and offer training. This often results in the new employee doing too little, or taking on more responsibilities than they should – which limits effectiveness over time.

New employees cannot know what is expected from them, even if they have done a similar role. Providing a job profile to new employees ensures that they have relevant and accurate information regarding their performance and deliverables, with no room for confusion.

Measuring Performance

A good job profile can eventually become a framework for job evaluation and therefore, pay structures. By integrating job profiles into the performance management process, profiles allow you and the employee to see job progress and performance. For example, by listing expected tasks and defining key performance indicators, you can easily track if the employee is successful in their role. This makes it easy to set tangible targets against which new employees can be measured – which is especially useful for short term contracts before a permanent contract is issued and useful for year-end performance review.

While profiling a job takes time and money, it is an investment in your team. By taking the time to define how, what, and how much the employee must do, you remove role confusion, set clear guidelines, and create standards for measuring performance. Without it, the employee is often left to their own devices, with no clearly defined expectations.

And, with a job profile in place before hiring, you can share expected outputs and performance with candidates in the recruitment phase, so that you can make better choices when hiring.


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