“We can’t find any decent employees!” If you own a small business, you can probably relate to the frustration expressed by this statement.
But often the real cause of the problem is not matching the right person to the right job. And many small-business owners have trouble defining the job, making it almost impossible to find the right person.
Because business owners are so busy with day-to-day operations, many don’t take the time to be sure there is a good match between the person they are hiring and the job that needs to be done.
If this is how you make hiring decisions, it is likely to cause frustration for you and your new employee. In addition, you may face the wasted expense of finding and training someone, then starting all over again when he quits or you have to terminate him.
As you search for new employees, an accurate and thorough job description can be invaluable. It helps you with advertising the position and evaluating potential employees, and it helps the applicant understand the job.
Many employees have never seen a job description for their position. This is because a lot of business owners don’t understand the benefits of job descriptions. They also don’t know how to evaluate the jobs and develop written descriptions.
To evaluate an existing job, you should develop a list of pertinent questions about the position. Then observe and interview people in that position.
It is important that you let your current employees know the purpose of the evaluation before you start observing them and asking the questions. You should ask about actual duties, skills required, time required for duties, supervision, tools and resources required, co-workers, training and performance evaluation procedures.
You may decide to have someone else evaluate the existing job, but the evaluation should not be done by the person doing the job.
The person doing the job should be interviewed and observed by someone who can be objective about the position.
If you are evaluating a new position to be filled, you’ll generally need to answer the same types of questions. However, new jobs are more difficult to evaluate. You can estimate the types of duties to be performed, with the assistance of the person who will be supervising the new employee.
If possible, have others within your company evaluate the description before it is implemented. Be careful that the new employee is not overloaded with tasks.
The written job description should be clear and specific. The chances for success will be greater when the person doing the hiring and the candidate for the position understand issues such as duties, qualifications, training, the purpose of the position, interaction with other employees and the evaluation process.
For job descriptions to continue to be useful, they should remain relevant, clear and specific.
So, be sure to regularly review and update the description so you and your employees can continue to benefit from it.
Connie Edwards is a business consultant with the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center. Contact her at 651-3200.