Managers must define the job before hiring the employee

Monday, October 28th, 2013 By Jack Nevison

The best project managers know that in order to succeed, they must recruit the right person for the job at hand. To do so, managers must use a hiring process that allows their business to attract and retain the workers with the skills they need.

Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.

In a recent post on LinkedIn, CEO and bestselling author Lou Adler writes that too many companies post help "wanted ads" that define the person they want before they define the job itself. He argues that this is backward.

"It's far better to define the job before defining the person," Adler writes. " If a person has successfully accomplished something similar, he or she has exactly the level of skills, experience and academics required. The worked [sic] required to be done determines the skills needed, the skills needed don't define the work required."

He points out, however, that between 80 and 90 percent of job descriptions that he notices on LinkedIn still emphasize "experience, skills and academics."

Adler cited his own experience as a recruiter in the 1970s, when the bulk of his job consisted of visiting manufacturing plants, identifying problems and then finding people who had successfully resolved similar situations in the past.

If you struggle to define job expectations and recruit the right people to fulfill them, New Leaf's program, "Leading Project Teams: The Human Side of Performance" can help. Our series of free white papers also contain lots of useful tips and information, and our online QPM games let you earn PDU credits for PMP recertification.

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