So… you’re about to start recruiting a new person…

It’s Wednesday morning and your personal assistant has just resigned… she saw a “new opportunity” and just really needed to take it. She knows everything about how you run your day and all the ins and outs of your business. So… where to from here?

You have two weeks notice up your sleeve, do you:

(a) grab out the old trusty bottle of scotch and have a drink (why is this at work???)

(b) jump onto SEEK and write a quick job advertisement to attract a new employee

(c) get to work on capturing what she does to build a great job description and job advertisement so that you can employ another strong (or stronger) skilled employee?

If you chose (a) we will forgive you for that, we all need to calm the nerves in these situations. Seriously though, (c) is going to be your best bet! Quite often in the workplace when we look at recruiting for roles we are programmed to replace what we had. We are addicted to Job Titles and Position Descriptions (even though 95% of PD’s include the phrase “any additional duties as required”, which often means anything and everything). We are so used to them that you would probably rewrite an old advertisement and readvertise the role again, but… has your business changed? We need to look harder at the business and ask ourselves “what do we need now?”

Coming back to our person that has given notice to leave you… it would be a great idea to sit down with them and find out what they specifically do in their day / week / month. Have they coped with the workload, what did they like / didn’t like about the role, what new technologies do they deal with now? Now ask yourself the question: “Has their job description significantly changed?”. We bet it has!

A great example is social media. Just over a year ago, most administrative/personal assistant Job Descriptions would not have referred to the updating of social media sites as part of an employee’s role, however the person leaving has set up a great Facebook page that attracts a growing network of potential clients. Without asking what the person does, new and important tasks can be missed when advertising and hiring a new employee. What happens when you advertise omitting this crucial part of the “new” role, employ a person based on the old skill set and find that they have no social media skills or interest in that space? The referral rate tumbles as potential customers leave your site and we don’t want that to happen.

We have a strategy in place to capture that information and you can too:

  • Sit down and talk to the person and capture what they do in their role, break it down to daily/weekly/monthly
  • Ask what technologies they use. You know that a new program was rolled out late last year but do they actually use it?
  • What did they like / didn’t they like about the role? (is this the real reason that they are leaving? Were they overloaded with work?)
  • With this new information, pull out the old job description and cross reference the information to update where necessary. Also look at tasks that could be directed elsewhere, are all tasks necessary for this role and has it shifted from the original direction?

Whilst you will miss your trusty employee, turn this around and think of it as an opportunity to now employ exactly what you and your business needs to move forward. Time to write a brilliant advertisement that attracts a great range of skilled candidates… good luck!

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