Sunday, May 22, 2011

Multi-Stakeholder Job Analysis: A New View on How to Find, Assess and Hire Top Talent, Part II

In Part I of this article, I made the contention that there were so many different people involved in the hiring process that consensus was impossible to reach. This included HR and OD, recruiters and sourcers, hiring managers and everyone on the hiring team, and lest we forget, the candidates themselves. In the government contractor hiring process this problem is made worse since the actual hiring manager is sometimes difficult to identify and recruiters tend to work off marginal job specs.

This lack of clarity causes unnecessary work on everyone's part, an inability to find enough good candidates, bad hiring decisions, and the payment of unnecessary salary premiums, among other problems. To solve these problems I introduced the concept of a multi-stakeholder job analysis. This is a single document that describes everyone's needs from specific experience and skill requirements to behaviors and competencies, performance objectives, and the employee value proposition. Collectively, this allows everyone to have their cake, and even if they can't eat it all completely, they can have at least have a nibble or two.

A multi-stakeholder job analysis is best understood with an example, in this case a product marketing manager for a medical device company.

A product manager typically manages a group of products from concept to launch and through the entire product life cycle. This includes defining product requirements, typically with a few customers, working with engineering and operations to ensure the products are developed and delivered on time, and coordinating all marketing and advertising programs.

For this example, let's assume the typical experience requirements for a mid-level product marketing manager consist of the following:

* 3-5 years in the medical device field with an emphasis on diagnostic equipment
* An engineering undergraduate degree with an MBA in marketing
* Strong knowledge of minimally invasive surgical procedures
* Knowledge of cGMP regulations is required
* In-depth knowledge of FDA guidelines is required
* Knowledge of international guidelines is an asset
* Strong knowledge of, and training in, Quality Systems Regulations (QSR) is required

From a practical standpoint someone can have all of these skills and still not be able to do the job. One way to address this is to add some behaviors and competencies into the mix. For this job, a few might include the following:

* Possess strong team and collaborative skills
* Possess strong verbal and written communication skills
* Be able to manage complex cross-functional team projects using Microsoft Project
* Be tenacious and persistent with a drive for results

To clarify the job somewhat, we then need to include some responsibilities like these:

* Handle all aspects of product positioning, pricing, and promotion
* Prepare product and competitive market analysis
* Handle advertising programs for product launches
* Develop product sales training

Unfortunately, someone can have all of these experiences and competencies and still not be interested in doing this work. Worse, from the candidate's perspective there's not enough here to excite the candidate to apply for the job, nor to differentiate it from other jobs if the person actually does apply and is presented with an offer. This is where including some performance expectations and an employee value proposition can help.

Performance Expectations - the real core of the job:

* Lead the launch of our new ultra-precise surgery system within 18 months
* Within 90 days prepare a comprehensive competitive analysis including a formal presentation to the executive team
* Develop state-of-the art training for leading U.S. hospitals
* Work with core team of top physician advisors and design engineers to develop product requirements for formal approval in six months
* Handle $5 million multi-channel marketing and advertising launch budget; plan needs approval within 120 days

Employee Value Proposition: This person is the key driver for launching our company's new core product line. This is a high visibility and high impact position dealing with our company executives and major customers, both domestically and internationally. This is a key stepping stone leading to a senior marketing executive position.

While there might be some adjusting of the original job description and competencies to make sure everything is in alignment, there's enough here now to find more top people, accurately assess them, and increase the likelihood they'll accept an offer.

From an interviewing standpoint we've modified the traditional behavioral interview by asking candidates to describe some of their comparable accomplishments in great detail. Digging deep into to each accomplishment reveals the behaviors and competencies the person used to accomplish the tasks. This way the person's accomplishments and their competencies can be assessed collectively against real job needs. The trend of growth over time of these accomplishments (whether up, down, or flat) offers tremendous insight into the person's ability and potential.

From a recruiting standpoint this same interviewing technique can be used to look for voids and gaps in the candidate's background. If they're not too big, these can be used to demonstrate the growth aspects of the job. This is important from the candidate's perspective as she compares this job to others being considered. As long as the compensation is competitive, career opportunity, impact and learning always top the reasons candidates choose one job over another.

A multi-stakeholder job analysis provides a number of benefits to the recruiter, hiring manager, interviewing team, and most importantly, the candidate. Advertising based on the performance expectations and the EVP will attract more top people. Recruiters who understand these job needs will also be more credible. Interviewing accuracy will soar since the candidate's past performance will be directly compared to the performance expectations of the job. Fewer top candidates will opt out if they see the job as a strong career move, and the chances of closing more people on more equitable terms is all but guaranteed. And as a bonus, there is little extra effort required putting this all together, since the real job requirements need to be discussed during the on-boarding process.

A multi-stakeholder job analysis prepared up front will also minimize the chance candidates will be disappointed once they learn about the real day-to-day requirements of the job. This can happen when these are not spelled out during the interviewing process. This is a primary cause of turnover, lack of job satisfaction, and manager frustration.

Contact us to learn more about how to prepare a multi-stakeholder job analysis for one of your critical positions. As you'll discover, getting everyone on the same page at the beginning of a search is the first step in shortening the time required and increasing the quality of everyone you subsequently hire.

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