Why You Need a Position Profile

by Marcianne Kuethen
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Danny, our next door neighbor, is a journeyman cabinet maker and wood worker. It’s fun to come home and see the latest project being crafted in his driveway. But beautiful products don’t happen without some careful planning. Danny is an expert who knows to measure twice, cut once to avoid making a costly, time-consuming mistake.

A frustrated customer–let’s call her Jan*–called one of our recruiters the other day. The employee we had helped her find–let’s call him Pete–wasn’t working out as well as she had hoped. After asking a few questions and doing a lot of listening, our recruiter figured out two things about the situation:

  1. Jan had changed the responsibilities of the position to include some management responsibilities, for which the new employee had never been initially screened.
  2. In spite of our advice, Jan had never written a position profile for the job. Our recruiter had done a great job filling the position with someone qualified for what the company initially said it needed. But verbal details seldom fully describe what the job’s day-to-day responsibilities actually entail, even before additional responsibilities are added or changes are made.

If you’re like some employers, you may be saying, “Why do I need a position profile? I wrote a job description already.” Let’s outline what a position profile involves and how it can save you some pain on down the line.

According to BusinessDictionary.com, a Position Profile is “a description of a particular work function that includes the elements deemed necessary to perform the post effectively. Specifically, a job profile developed by the personnel department of a business might include such things as job responsibilities, required qualifications, advancement prospects, and the initial hourly pay or salary associated with the position.”

At Amtec, we have a different take on the Position Profile. Beyond a job description, here’s what a Position Profile defines:

a.     The mission of the position (the central objective your new employee must achieve to be successful)

b.    The responsibilities of the position

c.     The competencies required for your employee’s success (click here for more about a free behavioral interview guide)

d.    SMART goalsOutcomes/Results for the first 30, 60, 90, and 180 days

e.    Education and Experience required by your new professional

Had Jan taken the time to write a position profile, two things probably would have occurred:

  1. Jan would have thought through exactly what she needed this employee to perform, not only in tasks but also overall accomplishments, and might have realized before interviewing anyone that what she actually needed was a manager. She then could have detailed the job’s responsibilities and had a clearer picture of what kind of professional, with what skills, competencies, education, and experience, would be needed to fill the position. She would also have written out SMART goals so that, during the interviews, she would know how to measure candidates against her goals and expectations.
  2. The employee would have had a more accurate interview experience. When Pete interviewed, he would have been up front about not having had any management experience prior to this. Had he still been interested in the job, he would have had the SMART goals to measure his current skills, competencies, education, and experience against to determine whether he was actually up to performing the job.

Are you currently interviewing to add a new employee to your team? Have you taken the time to write a position profile? Remember the saying, Measure twice, cut once. Spending two or three hours to really think through every aspect of your open position before advertising your job description may seem like too burdensome a task right now. But ultimately, it will prevent you from wasting time, grief, and dollars on either trying to bring your mishire up to speed or, worse, having to let him go and start your hiring process from scratch.

*all names are fictional to protect anonymity

Do you need help acquiring top contract or direct hire professionals? Let Amtec find you the best candidates, set you up to successfully interview them, and assist with offer negotiations, reference checks, and background checks. Click here or call (714) 993-1900 to start your search.

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“Helping Companies Build High-Performing Teams and Helping People Find Meaningful Work”
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