Defining Your Hiring Target - Recruitment & Retention
Construction Equipment Distribution magazine is published by the Associated Equipment Distributors, a nonprofit trade association founded in 1919, whose membership is primarily comprised of the leading equipment dealerships and rental companies in the U.S. and Canada. AED membership also includes equipment manufacturers and industry-service firms. CED magazine has been published continuously since 1920. Associated Equipment Distributors
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SECTION: Recruitment & Retention

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Defining Your Hiring Target


Article Date: 10-01-2007
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

Be careful what you ask for, and ask for what you care about.

It is all too common to see a hiring process launched without any real agreement on the job description, which we call the position specification. A hassled and shorthanded dealer executive calls Mary in HR and says: "We have a crisis! Our top product support manager is leaving. Get me two to three strong candidates by month's end." You might say, "We'd never do this," but it happens all the time, and often with key positions. Riflemen and archers shoot for the bull's eye and golfers aim at flags. So, let's explore how you can develop your own hiring target with a comprehensive position specification and detail document. Before going deeper, let us add that our executive search firm has been helping dealer clients write meaningful position specs for nearly 30 years. We'd be pleased to e-mail you a blank form if you call or e-mail us - and it's free.

OK, why all the fuss about a comprehensive hiring spec? From the company's perspective it defines the skills, abilities, traits, education and professional experience desired. (Not what the departing manager possessed, but what the job calls for now and in the future.) For a candidate, the spec helps them determine their "fit" to your needs. For both sides, a good spec provides interview topics, reference questions, and a valuable performance review guide. Essentially, a well thought-out spec should eliminate surprises.

Time is short, so let's outline key position spec elements:

  • ntroduction Cover the basics: company, job title, location, reporting structure. Continue with a positive explanation about your company. "Sell" the opportunity; don't assume everyone knows what you do, where, and the good things about your dealership. Provide Web site and vision statement information.
  • Job Functions, Duties, Dimensions & Key Activities We suggest an overview paragraph with several supporting bullet points. Spell out all aspects of the job to avoid confusion before and after the hire.
  • Challenges & Opportunities You are hiring leaders to solve problems, so why not outline key challenges. In a separate paragraph, explain why you're offering an excellent opportunity for "Ms. or Mr. Right."
  • Desired Qualifications These "DQs" are vitally important. Number each one and include: specific experience desired, education (minimum & preferred), interpersonal & communication skills, travel and/or relocation requirements, and computer skills. Add more DQs as you see the need. Be careful not to write a spec that's unrealistic or does not match your compensation. Don't describe a Lexus if you only have a Kia budget.
  • Soft Issues - Behavior "Fits" Include comments about: stress, drive, energy, integrity, team orientation,
    smoking policies, etc. Avoid cookie-cutter phrases. Tailor your spec to each position.
  • Relocation Unless you're only recruiting local candidates, relocation must be addressed. The more information you provide the less confusion there will be. Promote positives about your city. Realtors, chambers of commerce and community Web sites are very helpful to families considering a move. Spell out your relocation assistance plan; yes, it's expensive, so think it through carefully.
  • Quantifiable, First-Year Performance Objectives The DQs outlined the skills and experience you expect
    the "winner" to bring to your organization. In this section, be specific about the goals this manager needs to tackle in his/her first 12 months. Add a few "soft" or subjective goals relating to personal development or expected contribution to your overall team effort. Use these standards at performance review time.
  • Compensation & Benefits We suggest outlining the benefit basics: health and other insurance, retirement, vehicle plan, cell phone, laptop, etc. These are important "sales features" for candidates. Use a separate paragraph, just for internal use, to detail salary and incentive plans - acceptable ranges and realistic first-year cash compensation.
  • Final Touches. Before you finish your customized spec, add sections that explain: (A) How the selection process works, (B) Any tests - including drug screen or physical, (C) Orientation - a positive statement of how this new manager will be supported and what training will be provided during the first three months.
Closing Advice
We've all heard phrases like: "If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there." By investing your time, and that of fellow leaders, in the development of a comprehensive position spec, you have: locked in on your hiring bull's eye, removed subjective guesswork, and taken a big step toward a successful hire.

E-mail us for a free position spec form and, Happy Hunting!

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Article Categories:  Human Resources