Position Descriptions of Christmas Past

Are the multi-skilled, or the specialists among us, more future-proof & better equipped for organisational evolution?

I believe there are two trains of thought on this. These days with organisations advocating agile or iterative processes, we have witnessed a shift in not just how we meet deadlines and time restraints but in our professional mentalities. Everything is quicker, processes more streamlined and we are always looking for ways to create new efficiencies as we all deal with ever changing goalposts on a day to day basis. With this we of course become more than just what our defined position descriptions would have meant 5 to 10 years ago and instead we must be broader skilled, dynamic, out-of-the-box problem solvers who have to turn our hands daily to tasks which historically wouldn’t have been ours.

On the other hand, we have a growing trend of positions being broken up into several roles where in the past they may all have been taken care of by one position. An example of this could be the role of an internal recruiter. In years gone by, a recruiter would be responsible for the end to end process of finding candidates for any given role – engaging them, appropriately screening them, interviewing them, coordinating interviews with relevant hiring managers – and thereafter would also be responsible for “closing” or hiring. However these days, a large number of recruitment roles are broken up more distinctly into sourcing, recruiting and account managing.

There is merit in both methods but I will be interested to see moving forward whether it is the specialist or the broader-skilled that demonstrates more staying power.

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Position Descriptions of Christmas Past

HR: Does business hours mean all hours?

Has “normal business hours” become a thing of the past? These days, I rarely meet anyone who almost immediately following waking up in the morning, wont grab their phone from the bedside to check their email, or who considers their nights to be personal or family time, which not so long ago seemed the norm. What is it about modern day issues and work problems that are more important than those that we were facing years ago that can’t wait until the next day? Or is it a simple case that our ability to prioritize is being depleted due to such ease of systems access which allows many organisations’ staff to turn any computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device into a make-shift work station?

I’m as guilty as the next person of the late night emails and struggling to switch off but I’m one of the lucky ones who enjoys what I do enough that it doesn’t feel like a chore. What about those who aren’t as lucky and feel like they don’t have the pressure release of being able to go home and un-wind?

Human nature dictates that if we get too used to something, it becomes habitual and we begin to expect it. This being the case, if this isn’t carefully managed, how long will it be before being “switched on” at all times is an expected part of a job as opposed to it being a sign of an engaged and happy employee who will strive to go above and beyond any contractual obligations? Don’t get me wrong, the huge emphasis which these days is placed on interoperability and mobility of internal systems of course is a great thing and phenomenal feat in technology advancement but with it comes the potential for more risk, more pressure and more un-happy staff if it is not managed well.

HR: Does business hours mean all hours?

Competency or Experience?

We recruiters and HR professionals are lucky enough to be able to interview and interact with all levels of professional, which I believe to be one of the most alluring and enjoyable parts of what we do. This also means that depending on your interview questioning, we are made privy almost on a daily basis to information pertaining to the hiring and firing habits of other organisations that many professionals have interviewed at or have been employed by before.

A few days ago I met with a candidate for a position we were looking to fill. We discussed his background, what got him into IT, a little about the role we were looking to fill and then we went on to discuss an experience he had during a recruitment process that resonated with me. I thought I’d share it as I’m curious to know how common it is. He described a scenario where he knew 100% that he was capable of doing everything required in a position he applied for. He ensured he knew as much as possible about the remit of the future successful candidate so as to be sure that he was prepared for the interview. He was so sure of this role being the position he wanted in order to take his career on is ideal career path and was even more convinced that he was more than capable of doing it, even if it was a step up. More-over, when he described the role to me and we discussed his skills, approach, style of working, style of management and stakeholder management ability, I was completely convinced too of his ability to bring great value to the position. He went to the interview, he had a well-structured and strong answer for each of the questions asked and realised that even after a discussion with the team from the prospective employer, he had exactly the right idea of what would have been expected of him. He didn’t get the job. The reason he was given is that he hadn’t been in a role at the same level in the past and therefore it was deemed that he was not the “right fit”.

Frankly, I find it quite worrying when thinking back over discussions with many people over the years, the amount of interviewers/organisations that are scared to make a hire based on the candidate not having had exact experience in a position, instead of going down a line of screening deep enough to find out if someone has all the necessary skills to do it. We work in an age where every organisation wants to use buzzwords of being “evolutionary”, “agile” and “dynamic” to describe themselves but when it comes to their recruitment practises, it seems many are still archaic and not willing to go the extra mile to dig deep and find the true gems of talent that cannot be found by reading interview questions off of a script. The professionals that are going to shape our tomorrow are the professionals that don’t think like the masses of today. How far you are from the outcomes that you are working towards or the goals you are looking to achieve will not change by looking back to the way things have been done before. To quote Einstein: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome”.

Competency or Experience?