#118 - The Job Definition Worksheet
Figure out what success in the job would be before figuring out how to hire for it
I’m going back through past issues and trying to group the most useful resources by topic (jeez, folks, I write a lot of stuff in these.. is it too much?). A common topic, and a common problem people talk with me about, is hiring and onboarding. There’s two common threads I see:
First: the rush to get someone hired is so urgent that there’s often not enough time taken to figure out what the job is even supposed to be. Or worse, it’s “obvious” to a number of people, but their obvious ideas are in conflict. This is natural! Each hire, each job, is a bit of a one-off, a bit bespoke.
Second: Hiring and onboarding (and, for that matter, early evaluation of performance) are the same process. Once we’ve had an offer letter accepted, we don’t dust off our hands and declare our work done. The reason we hire someone is to have that person become successful at some work that needs doing. We need to bring them up to speed, and (for both their sake and ours) to have a clear progression of goals for them during that process. The best time to figure out what that would look like is during the process of defining the job, in parallel with writing up the job ad and the interview evaluation process.
So I’ve distilled what I could from resources that have shown up here, combined with things I’ve used in the past, into a worksheet. The goal is to have something the hiring team can hash out together. This is version one - feedback welcomed! (Feedback is a gift). The section headings aren’t rocket science, but the order matters:
Figure out what the job is for
Define what a succesful hire at the end of onboarding looks like
Back out from that an onboarding progression
Then, from that, figure out the must-already-have job requirements,
Then figure out the must-be-able-to-learn requirements
Then figure out what support will be needed during the onboarding process
Iteratively hashing this out with the team will help develop consensus about what the job is and how to interview. And at the end you’ll be have the beginning of an onboarding plan. You’ll also be able to include clear 30/60/120 day goals in the job ad. Good candidates appreciate those goals: those alone offer more clarity about the job than most entire job ads do.
There are more search engines out there than I realized - an overview of search engines with their own indices.
Old, but I hadn’t seen it before. An entire working computer - RAM, ROM, an ALU, and a simple assembly language - to play Tetris, implemented entirely in Conway’s Game Of Life.
PXE boot from various operating system installers using a single tool over the network - netboot.xyz.
And that’s it for another week. Let me know what you thought, or if you have anything you’d like to share about the newsletter or management. Just email me or reply to this newsletter if you get it in your inbox.
Have a great weekend, and good luck in the coming week with your team,