Are you looking for a good all-rounder or a single star quality?

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Here’s West Recruitment’s 5 tips to help prioritize skills and experience before you write the position description.

Before you start deciding if the skills and experience you’re looking for belong in the: ‘must possess’, ‘highly desirable’ or ‘ideal, but not essential’ category, it’s worth thinking about about the strengths and weaknesses of ‘experts’ versus ‘generalists’.

1. Are you recruiting for a contract position or permanent role?

If you’re after some short-term quick wins go ahead and recruit an expert – you’ll probably find yourself a star contractor gets the work done, nothing more and nothing less and for that, an expert is perfect. If you’re recruiting for a role that needs to fill some gaps within a flexible team, an all-rounder might be a better choice. In today’s environment of organisational change, generalists tend to cope better. Experts have often been sheltered from inter-department moves and secondment because they’re the only ones who can do what they do. Which attribute is a better fit for this particular role?

2. How important is the candidate’s ability to work in a team?

Assessing someone’s teamwork skills isn’t easy. Looking at their experience can glean a few clues:

  • Are they always ‘leading a team’? If you’re after a team leader great, after a team player, perhaps not.
  • How many people have they previously had reporting to them (this is NOT the same as working in a team).

If teamwork is an essential component of this role, the candidate ‘must possess’ the ability to work well in a team.

3. How unique is the skill set that this role needs?

There are instances where a technical expert is essential, but for this role, are there other options? What about outsourcing? If niche expertise isn’t required full-time, would a consultant be more cost-effective?

4. Have you exhausted your internal recruitment options?

Don’t underestimate the experience gained when some-one provides temporary cover for a particular role. Sure, you’re really after a CPA-qualified accountant who has worked with the big four, but if the less qualified junior has been covering the role for the past six months, how hard is it to bring them fully up-to-speed? Internal recruitment saves money, increases employee engagement and promotes loyalty. It’s always worth investigating.

5. What are the real success criteria?

This goes back to that very first question: Are you recruiting for a quick blitzkrieg across a particular area to meet key targets and deadlines? Or, are you after a more flexible, long-term asset for your business?

There’s no right answer, but putting some time and effort into a good position description will help attract the experts and all-rounders that have the skill set, experience and personal qualities that your organization needs.

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