Craft Venture: creating your new job, part III

By phydeaux • Updated on 01/19/2011

Hi everyone! Welcome back to Craft Venture! Im Brenda from Phydeaux Designs, working with you to make great hiring decisions! Last week, we continued our work on defining and creating a “reality-based job.” Today, we’ll finish creating our job descriptions so that we can start on our recruiting plan next week.

I really hope that this series has helped demystify the hiring process, namely the most important part:  creating a job from the ground up. If you have a solid job description, the rest of the process is so much easier! Furthermore, a well-defined job description is exactly what you need to know who you need to hire.

Everyone wants a great employee, right? Creating well defined jobs is the foundation necessary to building a strong staff. Your job descriptions drive every part of the hiring, training and evaluation process.

The thought of writing a job description  from scratch may be daunting; however, we’ve already done most of the work! By defining what your employee can do, creating work categories and setting up an outline, you basically have a job description. Now we just need to flesh it in and add qualifications.

Here is our final outline from last week:

You could use this as your job description by just adding qualifications. You could also create a more formal job description by fleshing in the detailed levels as full sentences with a little more detail. For instance, under “maintenance,” “cleaning shop”  isn’t very specific. “Sweep shop floor every night before leaving” is very specific.

Now we have a detailed outline! All I’ve done is to break out general tasks into additional bullets with details about expectations, schedule, timing (e.g., “sweep shop” is a new bullet, “every night before leaving” sets the expectation about frequency and timing).

This is all well and good, but how do we define the qualifications necessary to do this job? Let’s look at each second level bullet (a, b, c …). Under business management, does your employee need to know how to make travel arrangements, or will you train your employee? If the former, candidates need to “demonstrate experience arranging travel.”

If your job includes computer use, particularly Word, Excel and other specific programs, your employee should already have that skill. The more baseline skills your employee comes with means the more time you can focus on training them for skills really specific to your business. So for downloading financials into Excel, we should include “demonstrated facility using Excel.”

Oh, but wait! Is your work computer a Mac or PC? Make sure you specify that in your experience! Not all Mac users are able to learn to PC’s and vice versa. So we should include something like “must be comfortable using, and troubleshooting, administrative programs using a PC  (or Mac) computer.”

If you require Quickbooks experience, you’ll narrow your candidate pool significantly. If you don’t have time or skills to train your employee to use Quickbooks, and don’t want to spend money to send someone to training, then requiring experience (or making it “strongly preferred”) is wise. I would probably make it “strongly preferred,” because if I find a super star candidate without Quickbooks experience but with an amazing ability to learn software  programs quickly, I don’t want to rule that person out!

So for each of your bullet points, ask yourself, “What skills/experience/education does my employee need to be able to do this?” If you just need someone to sweep up and perform other really basic tasks, you may be able to hire a high school student, but make sure that you understand your state’s or city’s associated laws (at a minimum, you have to require a valid working permit). If your employee will do any driving, be sure to require a valid driver’s license and vehicle insurance. Will your employee drive your car or his/her own? If the latter, make sure you require that candidates own a vehicle.

You might be thinking that an art school student would be ideal. However, does your work require the skills and education that only an art student possesses? If not, you can’t require that candidates be enrolled in an art program. You can, however, say something like, “Working in our studio would be a great learning opportunity for currently enrolled art students; however, please note that this position is clerical in nature.”

Skills, experience and education must line up with the job’s tasks and areas of responsibility. You wouldn’t (and can’t) require a PhD and 10 years of working experience in metallurgy for an entry level assistant position for your metal working studio. Likewise, you wouldn’t only require a high school diploma/GED and no working experience at all for your office manager/accounting position that involves significant independence in managing your books.

This is all the more important in our current economy with record unemployment rates. If you require a set of skills and experience and hire someone who doesn’t possess those requirements, other qualified candidates could contest that hire (and trust me, candidates do this!). Now, really, is someone going to file a suit against you for your entry level position? Hopefully not! But … with a scarcity of jobs, this is all the more likely to occur.

Just make sure you have skills, education and experience that match your job’s tasks and that make sense. If you really aren’t going to consider anyone without a couple of years of college, and the work warrants it, make sure your job description includes “at least two years of college” as a requirement (if your job is just sweeping up your shop every night … it doesn’t require a couple of years of college).

I drafted the above education, experience and skills using our job outline. Notice how I’ve used the word “demonstrated” throughout? We’ll talk about this next week, when we talk about interviewing! This certainly isn’t the definitive requirements for our job, but it’s a good start.

Add a job title, the hours/schedule,  and you have a job description!

Exciting, right!? Now it’s your turn – go finish your own job description! I want to hear more about it! What kind of job are you thinking about, after our first few posts about how to create a job? What questions are you running into? Is this helpful for you?

Next week! Yay, the job is defined, let’s plan our interview, then get this baby posted for recruitment!

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