If you had a roadmap to success, a map that all but guaranteed you would achieve what you wanted to achieve - would you use it? While life may present no guarantees, having a job benchmark is about as close as you can come to improving your hiring capabilities.So many businesses want to “clone” their best employees or believe they know what it takes to be a great employee based on their “gut feeling.” This approach limits objectivity and promotes bias. Organizations using this method may become narrow in focus and develop visions of grandeur that are inconsistent with the actual needs of the job.
What happens if a company only has average performers? Do you want to clone “average” and fill your staff with more mediocre performers? Even worse, what if a leader gauges success against him or herself? A person clearly cannot remain unbiased when using themselves as the guide. A strong, solid company finds success through many different types of behaviors, motivators and points of view.
Job benchmarking minimizes biases, such as these, and provides a clear objective and collective voice to what behaviors, motivators and skills the job needs. Simply put, job benchmarking makes hiring both easier and more effective.
How to create a benchmark
The first thing you want to do is identify subject matter experts in your place of employment. These are known as “SMEs.” Having 3-5 SMEs is ideal. Gather the most important skills, responsibilities, and tasks performed for that role and begin to rank them in importance.
When breaking down the key responsibilities, allot about 80% of that person’s workweek to fulfillment of their work related tasks. The other 20% will be distributed between other company and personal related issues that arise throughout any given workday such as trainings, meetings, lunch breaks and more. Create a worksheet ranking the tasks in order of importance and based on time expected to complete each task.
Other important factors to consider
Make decisions about behavior. How important is it that this person positively responds to problems and challenges? How important is it that this person influences others to their point of view? How important is it that this person has a consistent and steady approach to their work? How important is it that this person follows rules and procedures? Identifying the importance of these various behavioral characteristics pertinent to a specific job is integral to putting the right person into the proper position.
Make decisions about drivers. Drivers, also referred to as motivators, are the reason people do what they do every day. It’s the “why” behind their actions. Drivers are vitally important in a job benchmark because if a person’s drivers don’t match the job, there will always be some level of unhappiness toward their job.
Ask yourself the following questions. Is it important for this person to do their work before having all the facts? Is it important for this person to complete all tasks regardless of the return to the business? Is it important that this person functions without emotions and compartmentalizes aspects of their job? How important is it that this person is purpose driven and leverages the people around them to complete work at hand? How important is it that this person is a team player and can work without controlling the project? How important is it for this person to be open-minded to new ideas and ways to work?
Each of these questions above represent a different driver and can determine a person’s fit within an organization, or specifically, toward a specific position.
The action plan
Once you have identified exactly what it takes to succeed in this role, it’s time to post your job. Collect candidate resumes and identify those people who qualify for a phone interview. Quickly move on from those who do not qualify for a phone interview with a polite letter or email declining their candidacy. No need for long explanations here; keep it short and sweet and focus on those who are solid candidates.
Once the phone interviews begin, get immediately to the subject matter that pertains most directly to the job benchmark. If they are not a good fit on the things you consider to be most important, there is no reason to extend the interview. By that time, you’ll already realize that this particular person is not a fit for your organization.
If a person does match up fairly well with your benchmark, ask questions that set up further questions that will occur in the next interview. Always stay one step ahead of the process. For those that do well during the phone interview, set up an in person interview where you can get deeper into the interview process.
For all candidates who pass the in-person interview, give them a homework assignment. This will show you a few things right away. For example, is the person timely? Are they accurate? Do they follow directions? Most importantly, do they do good work? There is no need to assign homework to anyone you do not find worthy during the live interview; keep the assignments to those still in the running.
For those that pass the homework assignment, bring them back in for a second in-person interview. This time, include other members of the staff, especially the people from the original SME team. Different people may pick up different nuances about a candidate and it’s always a good idea to get multiple perspectives.
Should there be several candidates still in the running, you could potentially give them another homework assignment to help determine a star performer or you can move to the decision portion of the process.
Committing to the candidate
Have those who participated in the interviews make up a role review committee. Discuss the pluses and minuses of each candidate. Confirm that what you brainstormed earlier in the process is truly what you want. In other words, obtain buy in from these important staff members. They are going to have to accept this new employee, after all.
Once you have selected your candidate, conduct a background check and make an official offer, based, of course, upon passing of the background check.
Bring the chosen candidate on board with a one-page job overview as part of their onboarding process. Make sure they fully understand what is expected of them and allow them to ask questions. Be sure the candidate comes away with a full understanding of their expectations and is in full agreement with these expectations.
This job benchmarking process will help you find the best candidate possible. By going through the process of first identifying what the job entails, and then figuring out what type of person is needed to successfully fill the position, you will have eliminated much of the gray area. You can be much more confident that you put the right person in the right position because you did your homework on the front end.
TTI Success Insights offers a patented job benchmarking process that expedites this process through the use of tools and solutions to ensure that you get the best possible candidate. With our network of experts, you’re sure to hire the best possible candidates.