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The resignation of a team member can often send us in to a tailspin. Your employee has given you the standard four weeks notice but we all know the reality is that by the time we recruit someone to back fill their position, get the new employee started, and get them up to speed that your departing employee will be long gone. The resignation of a team member often means there will be increased workload, added pressure on other team members as they try to pick up the extra work in the interim and a loss of business intelligence. Hence why I see so many businesses panic when they receive a resignation and they immediately launch in to refilling the position to relieve those pressures as quickly as possible. Many times, I have received the frantic call; quick we need to recruit, to get an advert up today for a new employee. The application period is shortened, the interviews are rushed through and too bad if the best applicant isn’t available for an interview immediately, we just need to replace as quickly as possible. It’s a knee jerk reaction and this kind of approach often ends badly months down the track.
What’s wrong with this approach?
This approach leads to recruiting the wrong person to the wrong role. Business is changing and evolving all the time. Technology impacts and changes the needs and requirements of a job. Customer needs and demands change and we need to adapt to what our customers want. Our systems and processes change over time and require new and different skills and experience. Taking all this into account before you launch into back filling a position is critical however stepping back and taking this strategic approach to recruiting takes time and delays you getting your new employee.
Let me give you an example. The role of an Executive Assistant (EA) has changed significantly over time. In the past critical skills for an EA were taking notes in shorthand, dicta-phone typing and drafting correspondence. These skills are less critical today as our next generation of managers who have an EA are much more tech savvy. Think voice to text and sending emails instead of typing letters and posting them as a couple of examples.
If we kept rolling out the same position description and the same job advert that we used when we last recruited an EA we’d be recruiting for the wrong skills and expertise because the position has evolved. Stepping back and really analysing the vacancy and the requirements of the role is critical for long term success. To really do this effectively there are some important steps to follow:
- Start with the big picture
Before you jump into drafting a list of tasks, step back and look at the bigger picture. What need in the business is this role addressing? Sometimes, over a period of time roles evolve because of the skill set and the areas of strength of the current incumbent. This may not necessarily be the direction the role needs to go to support the needs of the business into the future. Stepping back and getting clarity on what need or gap or pain point this role addresses now and taking in to account the future needs of the business is the critical first step.
- Gather feedback
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you know what this role entails and the key tasks performed, however you might be surprised at how that has changed over time. Wherever possible involve the departing employee. They know the role better than anyone so pick their brains. I often get some resistance when I suggest getting the departing employee involved and while you may think their feedback is skewed because they are leaving the business they may just provide you with some gems of information that you wouldn’t have uncovered otherwise. You can choose what you do with their feedback but gathering that feedback provides another perspective. I’d also gather feedback from others that link in closely with that role; their direct manager and the incumbents of the roles that work closely with the position.
- Update the position description and job advert
With your fresh clarity about the big picture objective of the role and the feedback you have gathered it will be much easier to update the position description and job advert to reflect the skills and expertise required for success in the role. Once you have these up to date you can compare your requirements against the market to see what are the likely chances of recruiting someone who ticks all the boxes on your wish list or what skills you might need to be prepared to train or upskill in potential candidates.
Following this type of process will ensure that you recruit the right person for the right job and in three or six months time you aren’t going back to the drawing board and starting all over again.
Angela Connor is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource and career coaching companies. She understands the significance of having the right team of people in a business and is passionate about helping business to attract, recruit and engage the right people so those people can inject their talents into the business; creating an environment where they can do great work and love what they do. Find more useful information and advice at www.inspirehq.com.au or by following Angela on LinkedIn.