Struggling to fill a role vacancy? Churning through new placements at an alarming rate? Perhaps it is the role that’s wrong, not the quality or availability of talent.

Signs that it’s time to hire

Aside from the glaringly obvious gaps in people resourcing, businesses can sometimes be slow to act when it comes to hiring new employees. The longer you delay, the more likely it is that you’ll start experiencing problems when it comes to your output and ability to deliver for your customers.

It may get to a point where you need to act with haste, and this can result in making predictable “unthinking” decisions that ultimately do more harm than good.

Whatever it is that is holding you back from objectively reviewing your people resourcing requirements on a regular basis, remember that growing your team means you are either contributing to building your competitive advantage, working towards realising strategic priorities or solving an organisational pain point. And that’s a positive.

Still on the fence? Here are some signs to look out for:

  • The overall quality of work is declining or you’re seeing an increase in customer complaints.
  • You’re experiencing a higher than usual employee turnover rate, due to frustrated or stressed people.
  • Patterns of a prolonged increase in overtime costs, which can be a red flag leading to overworked employees.
  • Growing expense associated with freelancers, contractors and consultants, in an attempt to meet resourcing demands.
  • Inability to expand the business, take on more clients or enter new markets, primarily as a result of resourcing challenges.
  • Obvious gap, either due to a departing employee or organisational need, for example a specialised skill set that currently doesn’t exist in your business.
  • Inability to realise organisational strategy, goals and objectives, particularly new priorities.

Scoping a role

Regardless of the type of role or its seniority, every role in your organisation serves a purpose, with specific accountabilities and capabilities required that collectively are the drivers of overall business performance.

Whether you are creating a new role in response to a business need or backfilling an existing vacancy, there’s foundational work that should be completed before you even go to market with a role.

Good Organisational Design takes your business strategy and translates it into a list of what you need to succeed. Think beyond shifting lines and boxes in an organisational chart and look objectively at the fundamental building blocks of an organisation – the processes people follow, how people are managed, the recruitment of talent, performance and the development of skills, how people make decisions and connect with one another – and review whether they support the strategic priorities and other growth areas of your organisation.

There’s a cost associated with bringing new people into your business, both financially and the time commitment required. Equally important is the impact on organisational culture and your reputation as an employer of choice.

Here are some common issues to consider when you are creating a new role.

  1. If you need a resource for a temporary need or demand doesn’t necessitate a permanent position, consider a more creative approach to resourcing. For example, outsourcing or upskilling existing teams could be a better solution versus creating a full-time position.
  2. Creating a new role is not a solution for managing performance. If you are having challenges with a particular employee, constructing a new role specifically to relocate them, is never a long-term solution. Deal with the problem, don’t create a new one.
  3. The people on the coal face, doing the work, are best placed to help you craft a role that has meaning and purpose. Team job crafting is a process that matches the aspirations and capabilities required in a functioning team, with the requirements of the broader organisation. Excluding teams from decision making will have long-term impacts; without wider team and organisational support, you’re basically setting up a new hire to fail.

Best practice role design

Once you’ve determined role purpose, and where the role ‘sits’ in your organisational structure, it’s time to hone in on the specific responsibilities and accountabilities of the role.

Role Charters are an effective tool to help in the ideation of a role, as well as setting responsibilities. At its most basic, a role charter defines a role in a one pager. According to The Boston Consulting Group, a role charter should cover:

  • Individual and shared accountabilities, or responsibilities for the completion of tasks.
  • KPIs for measuring the execution and performance of these accountabilities.
  • Decision rights needed for carrying out the accountabilities.
  • Leadership behaviour’s deemed critical to the success of the enterprise.

Using the role charter as your base document you can then create a fit for purpose position description.

A Position Description outlines the key responsibilities, duties and objectives of a role, the salary and benefits on offer and reporting lines. It explains why this job is required by the business and how it fits into the team and existing organisational structure.

Positions descriptions have become bland documents with an exhaustive list of responsibilities. It’s time to rethink how we craft position descriptions. For example, role responsibilities should be defined more in terms of the ‘what’ rather than the ‘how’.

Remember that reading a position description is the first impression a prospective employee will have of your business. So, they need to promote the company’s values and the benefits of working in your team.

When developed, test your role description and role charter with wider stakeholders within the business. Particularly for a newly created role. If people in the business can’t understand the relevance and scope of the role, then chances are you’ve got it wrong.

Don’t make the mistake of being overly prescriptive when it comes to defining a role. Particularly for senior or people leadership roles, you want to leave some space for a candidate and new hire to shape the role.

For help crafting a fit for purpose position description, visit the Resources section of our website for our Position description best practice guide.

Top Tip: Role Titles
Job titles matter. Role titles are often criticised for being too rigid and even stale, but there’s a lot to be said for having a succinct and clear approach to defining a job function that communicates the basics of a role and makes sense to employees, current and prospective. Some role functions give little flexibility when it comes to creative job titles. However, there is a natural evolution of titles, for example ‘people’ is increasingly outstripping the traditional title of ‘human resources’.

Who would succeed in a role

There’s more to hiring well than simply crafting the right role, you also need to have clarity on the experience, technical skills, soft skills, cultural fit – including values, beliefs and outlook – as well as potential of the right person for the role.

This is typically ‘covered’ by including in the position description, a person specification which outlines the skills, experience, qualifications and behaviours required to perform the role.

Gaining consensus on the type of person who would succeed in a role can be challenging. A useful approach, widely used by professional recruiters, is to create a Candidate Profile. While a job description focuses on describing the job, a candidate profile is all about defining the ideal candidate for a specific position. Armed with this knowledge, you will be better positioned to find candidates possessing the right characteristics.

Think beyond the key capabilities required for fulfilling the purpose of the role and consider desired attributes for the role – the values, characteristics, and ‘style’ best suited to the role.

This is also a perfect opportunity to invite others to engage in the process by including a wider group of perspectives in crafting the profile, based on their knowledge and experience within the company. Developing awareness, sharing knowledge, and engaging team members can ease in the transition of a change process.

Creating a candidate profile will also give you a solid framework for candidate assessment during the recruitment process. When assessing candidates, it is important to follow a structured and consistent approach.

What else to consider

Onboarding is a well-established, best practice approach to ensuring new hires are oriented and on the right path to success. Preparation is key. What milestones or expectations are placed on the new hire during the onboarding and induction period and beyond i.e., 90-day, 100-day plans?

Interim Resource
Depending on the situation, you may need to consider an interim placement while the search is on for a permanent solution. Your focus is always on making the right hiring decisions and while you will prioritise a timely recruitment process, you may find that the timelines stretch out and that may place pressure on workloads and teams.

Change Management
As well as involving key members of the team in the recruitment process, think more broadly about what work may need to be done in shifting the company culture to accommodate the new role. You should start engaging all relevant stakeholders, including communicating intent and gaining the support of relevant people within the business, well in advance to making any hiring decisions.

The selection and assessment process is a part of talent acquisition that is highly susceptible to unconscious bias, particularly for participants who are unfamiliar with objective candidate selection methods. You may want to consider training for key members of your team on how to conduct structured interviews with a specific focus on the types of unconscious bias that can occur in a recruitment process.

Need Help?

Decipher Group are industry experts in the recruitment of executive, management level professionals, and governance leaders for New Zealand and Australian businesses. We’ve been connecting talented people to exciting opportunities for 16 years.

Find out more about our recruitment expertise.

Visit the Resources section of our website to read our How to Guide: So, you’re thinking about hiring on what you should be thinking about before commencing a recruitment process, as well as how to avoid common mistakes when doing so.

The Decipher Team

To stay on top of current recruitment trends and hear about new role vacancies, follow Decipher Group on LinkedIn.

Frequently Asked Questions

A short Q&A with our team on related questions that people commonly search for on Google.

What does fit for purpose position description mean?

You can’t evaluate a candidate’s suitability and capabilities if you have not thought through and clearly identified the objectives of a role. Likewise, a potential role applicant will not be making an informed decision if they are not presented with an accurate role description. That’s essentially the objective of having a fit for purpose position description – it sets out why a job exists relative to the needs of the organisation, as well as defining the type of person who would likely succeed in the role.

Should we outsource our recruitment?

There are pros and cons to both in-house and outsourcing your recruitment. It really comes down to determining which of the two methods would make the most sense for your business and its immediate needs. There are some obvious considerations that may lead you down a particular path.

Outsourcing your recruitment efforts has the advantage of freeing up your time as well as leveraging the professional knowledge from experts in the field. From a diversity, equity and inclusion perspective, having ‘professionals’ assist you in your hiring efforts also helps to mitigate the effects of bias.

How do you determine remuneration for a role?

Setting the level of remuneration for a role including salary, incentives and non-monetary benefits, needs to be done within the context of an organisation’s existing remuneration approach. This needs to recognise employee effort, be closely aligned with business objectives (and budgets) while also reflecting industry averages and competitor rates.

Consider completing a remuneration review for a role, which provides insights on salary benchmarking, based on recent market intelligence.

Share this story

Our insights to your inbox

Subscribe and we’ll update you with our latest news and insights.

our people

Your first
port of call