Hiring: Accuracy and Fallacy

hiringSome boast about their ability to judge people, yet usually makes a wrong decision in hiring. When hiring a person, the decision must be made on more substantial bases.

Increased Emphasis on Appearance. In most contacts with peoples, our immediate reaction is to their appearance. A person whose physical characteristics, dress and presence are pleasant, neat and attractive starts off on the right foot in most interpersonal relationships. This does not mean that you should judge the book solely by its cover or that you should give preference to those applicants flashing their designer laptop bags or beautiful men and women with expensive taste on clothes. Neatness, a pleasant countenance and good, appropriate taste in dress and grooming are important.

This doesn’t mean that certain aspects of appearance shouldn’t be considered. For example, if the applicant’s mode of dress and accessories or other aspects of his or her appearance are unconventional, like tagging along a rolling briefcase on submitting his resume for a clerical job, may definitely make you think twice.

For jobs calling for dealing with customers, these may be negative factors. But for other jobs, they shouldn’t influence your decision. Some psychologists point out that such idiosyncrasies provide inside into the applicant’s personality. Probing questions and perhaps, interviews with psychologists might bring out what the applicant is consciously or subconsciously projecting.

Choosing the Applicant with the Same Background as Yours. One tends to subconsciously favor people whose backgrounds are close to one’s own. There is a comfortable feeling when dealing with people who have shared a similar environment or experience. This can be an asset in that working relationship can be developed more rapidly and more easily. However, it may lead to choosing a less qualified candidate. When all the people in a work group have analogous backgrounds, there’s an inclination for them to think alike and less open to new ideas.

In order to accurately choose the right applicant, here are two of the characteristics that you should take note:

Self Confidence. When an applicant is confident, he should not be afraid to talk about his failures. He should not try to impress you by bragging about his accomplishments, instead, should be matter-of-fact about it. He should project an image of being totally secure in his feelings about his capabilities. If this is exhibited, it is more probable that the applicant will manifest such self-confidence on the job, enabling him to adapt readily to the new situation.

Fluent Expression. Fluency of expression pertains to the individual’s ability to discuss her background easily and fluently. One should not hesitate or grasp for words. When you probe for details, one should be ready with statistics or examples and specific applications. This indicates not only one’s expertise, but the ability to communicate which is an essential ingredient in many jobs.

There are some glib people who can take a great job but have only cursory experience or knowledge of it. They learn and use the jargon of the field. To determine if an applicant is a talker, but not a doer, ask an in-depth question and probe for specific examples of his or her words. Glib phonies cannot come up with meaningful answers.


Uses of Job Analysis Records and Information

job analysisThe cost in terms of time, effort and money in the preparation of the job description and job specifications are well paid-off by their values if properly utilized. While different organizations have varying uses for them, the most common ones are:

Serve as guides to job applicants in their decision making of entry into the organization. The job analysis forms are shown to applicants even before they fill out job application forms. On the basis of job duties and responsibilities as well as professional and technical qualifications, the applicant either screens himself out or continues with the application process. This self screening saves the organization a lot of resources used in screening numerous applicants.

It makes the organizing and re-organizing processes in the entire organization smooth and systematic. Divisions, departments, sections and units are created in accordance with product lines or services and duties and responsibilities of the workers. Without job descriptions, and job specifications, the overlapping of duties and responsibilities, inter- and intra- department may most likely occur.

It assists in the hiring of personnel. Staffs that are recruited screened and finally hired are those with the qualifications appearing in the job specifications because they are the ones who can perform the duties and meet the responsibilities as specified in the job descriptions. Hence, the hiring procedure becomes organized and objective. Without the proper job analysis records and information, whoever suits the fancy of the employer or manager is taken in and the latter’s performance falls below par.

 It serves as a standard for performance evaluation. Job descriptions are used as one of the reference points when assessing the performance of employees who are presumed to have read and accepted them before the final admission into the organization and during their employment. It is but fair to evaluate them on their track record performance of duties which are officially assigned to them as contained in their job descriptions. Hence, for the protection of their members, the employee’s union should be involved in the preparation of job descriptions and should monitor their proper utilization for performance evaluation. If there’s no employee’s union, you as an employee should know this.

It is best used as guides for orientation and training. Employees who are deficient in some knowledge and skills and whose attitudes needed reshaping can receive special orientation on their newly assigned jobs and can attend short information training programs to upgrade them in these areas.

Such is the use of the job analysis records and information that any manager or supervisor or your immediate superior (to be exact) as well as the HR manager, should have ready in his file. There are companies that do not have a file system and most of the managers should have it stored on their computer or filed in a folder stored away. If you feel that you were demoted or fired with reasons that pertain to your performance, ask for the job description and the performance evaluation tool used. It should correspond with your job description, your actual work performance and not based on opinion alone.

Job Performance Standards

out of workIt is often said that “the best people want to work with the best people.” What a company stands for is important in an employee’s eyes and an organization that maintains a high ethical standard – and is a good corporate citizen in the bargain – says something about the caliber of everyone who works there. In turn, the more pride employees have in their companies, the more productive and contented they become. Creating such an environment requires that the management set standards of behavior, let them be known and teach by example.

Standards of another kind are those that measure job performance. In some cases, these are cut and dried: A sales company, for instance, may set a minimum quota for its salespeople, which clearly sets out what is expected from each. Many other people are in lines of work that don’t lend themselves so easily to gauging performance – the administrative assistant who has multiple duties, the editor in a publishing house who slogs away at a manuscript day after day, the graphic designer at a small record company who acts as a jack-of-all-trades until he’s called on to deliver an album cover.

In these gray areas, a good manager devises a means by which he and his employees can measure whatever productivity is required to satisfy the needs of the company’s bottom line – whether it is to stack a number of finished folders of credit loans or send in a completed and reviewed application for short term loans. It is the manager’s responsibility to make sure his employees have a concrete notion of what is expected of them, whether it is written down or simply conveyed and reinforced through his day-to-day interaction with an individual or a team.

Even the most amorphous kind of work can be measured by quantity or the amount of work produced and time lines, otherwise known as how quickly a particular job is done. Setting goals based on these will give a reasonable picture of performance.

A good company sets explicit goals for itself to improve productivity in certain area, for instance, or to lower outside costs to subcontractors and then spells out the employee’s role in meeting them. The gauge of success? The performance review, the source of much hand-wringing and debate. There are generally two types:

The Once-A-Year Appraisal. In most large organizations, appraisals are done once a year and are based on numerical rankings from 1 to 4 – the coveted and rarely awarded 1 meaning “superior performer,” the feared 4 meaning “not meeting objectives” or in the language of the floor, “outta here.” These appraisals have been found by many forward-thinking companies to be wanting and very much separated from their purpose.

The Continuous Appraisal. Ideally, the review process seeks to make sure an employee does her job and well, at that and develops in a particular way. So it stands to reason that the best appraisals are those given informally and frequently – short review sessions at opportune times and constructive criticism or praise of others. Continuous appraisals tie in with the need of companies to focus more on the individual.

Performance appraisals need not be an either/or proposition. While some companies do away with the numerical ranking altogether, others use it as the culmination of the continuous review, with the rationale that last year’s 3 needs to be told she’s moving to a 4 so that she can turn things around before it’s too late – the number acting, in the words of one executive, “a two-by-four that’s going to get someone’s attention.”