Writing job descriptions to address competing needs
In the April 2004 issue of LeadingEdition, we talked about job descriptions ï¿½ what they are, how they are used, and steps you can take to make sure your job descriptions are well written. This time, weï¿½d like to have an up-front discussion about job descriptions in light of the relationships and sometimes competing needs that exist among the hiring supervisor, the business office, the compensation analyst, and the recruiter.
Hereï¿½s an example that will help us see these relationships and needs:
In Department X, Supervisor Smith needs an extra position to deal with an unexpected construction problem. If she doesnï¿½t get the help, she may not be able to meet the project deadline. She knows what sort of expertise she needs, but she doesnï¿½t have a lot of time to develop a thorough, clear job description. So she prepares a draft and sends it to the business office.
The business manager sees it and knows immediately that funding is an issue. She also knows that if the position is approved, it will cause some ruffled feathers from other supervisors who may want extra help too. On top of that, the senior director has indicated that itï¿½s time for this particular project to wind down, not add more staff.
However, being a good manager and wanting the best for all parties, he forwards the description and gathers additional information on funding for the senior director, who will have to give approval before the job can be classified and posted. The business manager has to spend a great deal of time working between the supervisor and the director to get all the issues cleared up. Then the business manager sends the job description to Compensation.
When the compensation analyst reviews the description, it is clear that the education and experience required donï¿½t fit with the responsibilities listed on the description. The title will need to be approved by the Provostï¿½s office, and the pay range listed is too low. And so a new dialogue begins between the compensation analyst and the business manager. After some discussion that includes the hiring supervisor, the issues are resolved and a classification decision is made.
Now the job goes over for posting. The recruiter calls the hiring supervisor to talk about the recruiting strategy. It becomes apparent that the information on the job description is quite different than what the hiring supervisor is really looking for, and there seems to be confusion about the salary range. And so the recruiter contacts the analyst, who contacts the business manager ... and so on.
Whatï¿½s going on here, and what can we do about it? First, letï¿½s understand more clearly what each playerï¿½s needs are.
Supervisors, managers, analysts, recruiters: We all want the same thing. We all want to get good people hired into good jobs to get our work done. So, how do we deal with these conflicting needs effectively? Theyï¿½re not going to go away ï¿½ each player has too much at stake, and all of the concerns are critical in getting the ultimate goal accomplished.
Some say the best defense is a good offense; others say that understanding is the beginning of wisdom. Either one works!
Analysts and recruiters have made a commitment to communicate with supervisors, business managers, and each other from the time we first receive your job description. The goal here is to get everybody started on the same page, make sure we stay together through the process, and get those hires made as quickly and efficiently as can be done!
We want to know how you think we can work together to make the process better. Please send your comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will share your input in our next issue of LeadingEdition.
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LeadingEdition is an electronic newsletter for Purdue University supervisors. It is produced and distributed by Purdue University Human Resources four times annually. If you have questions, comments or suggestions relating to the newsletter, please call 49-41679 or email us. Thank you.