Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, formerly of the Gallup organisation, point out that managers will spend time on making an appointment – this much is a ‘given’. But the real issue is how much they invest before making the appointment and how much time they will have to spend later on when problems with the candidate emerge.
Making an appointment is an anxiety-provoking experience – while you can tick off a check-list of skills and experience, there’s no guarantee that the person you appoint will end up being the right one for your business.
But fortunately there are tools you can use and processes you can follow to enhance your chances of success. Ben Venter, Managing Partner in PI South Africa, a company that provides consulting, training and support services using the Predictive Index (PI) tool, comments: “In making an appointment a manager must be very aware of the business plan objectives. Structuring a job so that it is aligned with the business requires practice, but no manager can afford not to acquire this skill. It is a basic management competency and without it the management process of converting the effort of staff into business performance cannot be achieved.”
So how do you do this? Venter answers: “An excellent starting point is to develop a single-sentence purpose for the appointment that should answer the question, ‘Why does this position exist? ’This activity encourages clear thinking. Next answer the following question: How will I know when this job has been well executed?”
Your answer, should consist of three to five measurable performance standards – or Key Performance Areas. (More than five is usually an indication that you’re listing tasks rather than performance areas.) “Check the KPAs by asking yourself if, in achieving them, the business would have moved closer to achieving its objectives.” KPAs will allow a manager to focus the new employees on what must be achieved; manage performance; develop a list of skills and knowledge training needs; and design an induction programme.
Once they’ve been identified, the KPAs need to be converted into a format which will enable the line manager to identify the talents necessary to succeed. PI South Africa makes use of one of the Predictive Index’s instruments to convert KPAs into a role or job pattern. Known as the PRO, this instrument consists of work-related statements which help to clearly identify the critical talents required for success. These might include things such as a ‘striving talent’ for managing in a highly competitive market, ‘empathy’ for jobs like nursing or a need for ‘precision’ in accounting.
“The role pattern is the basis for crafting an advertisement to attract candidates who have the talents to succeed,” saysVenter. An advertisement to attract striving talent must offer challenges, excitement, independence, rewards and prospects while competitive sales people will respond to exceptional earnings potential, high profile employers and the status that accompanies success.
The screening process comes next. “Has the applicant responded to your advertisement or are you one of the 50 companies to receive a 10-page CV containing irrelevant information? Has the applicant got a good track record? Does it indicate the potential to succeed in your environment?” The interview process is the chance to confirm that the company and applicant could derive mutual benefit from working together.
Finally there needs to be an objective assessment of the applicant’s talent. Do the applicant’s talents match those required by the role pattern you have put together. There is a wide range of assessment techniques, of which the Predictive Index Survey is one. “It’s auser-friendly free-choice questionnaire which can be completed in 5 to 10 minutes. The results can be understood and used by managers trained in the use of PI to bring the selection process to a win-win conclusion.” He cites the example of Auto Pedigree, a Predictive Index client which was voted top companyin its class in 2007 in a Sunday Times survey. “80% of their sales people matched the ideal requirements for success – the remaining 20% satisfied the minimum requirements.
Contact Ben Venter 073-676-6511, firstname.lastname@example.org; www.pisouthafrica.co.za