If The Job Could Talk

by : Jennifer Selland



What would a job say to us about superior performance if it could talk? Would it tell us both what hard and soft skills we would need for top performance? Would it describe the necessary behaviors? How about what attitudes or values are required to excel in the position? Even IQ and EQ (Emotional Intelligence) should be discussed.
We all know "jobs" can't talk... but we can talk to superior performers in the job. The key is to know what questions to ask. The latest issue gaining attention is the difficulty of finding technical talent with "people skills". The leading experts are strongly suggesting that organizations review all existing job descriptions and conduct a thorough job analysis on which defensible hiring decisions can be made. They are also suggesting that organizations take a good look at their needs for management skills versus leadership skills for all management positions. Today, "behavioral interviewing" is being used in the hiring process by more and more organizations.
Top management is now talking about the value of "soft skills". Peter Drucker's latest book is pushing "managing one's self". Coaching continues to grow worldwide and corporations are talking about managing human assets. Can you imagine how to manage your human assets without understanding first what truly makes a human an asset? A good start begins with benchmarking the job, not the people. Human asset management needs to be job-related, not yours or someone else's opinion of what they think the assets are.
To benchmark a job, we must look at the job from three views: behavior, attitude and skill required. Then you can look at people currently performing these jobs to clarify the performance correlations. Only by comparing factors of the job to the same factors on people will we be able to identify the real performance issues.
The most progressive organizations have human resource strategies that call for competency-based (skill) selection and performance management systems. These organizations understand the importance of hiring the right people, placing them in the right position and managing them effectively in order to gain a competitive advantage.
One difficulty organizations have in implementing effective HR strategies is defining the selection criteria most important for performance in positions. Before an organization can design selection systems aimed at hiring top performers, they must first identify what it takes to achieve superior performance in a position. In many of today's flatter, leaner organizations, soft skills have become at least as important, if not more important than technical skills. Look for competency-based position analysis that will help your organization define the soft skills or core competencies required for top performance.

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