The advert states that one must have Grade 12 with 25 points in order to qualify as a voter registration official, which is the same requirement for the University of Namibian (Unam) and Polytechnic of Namibia. Will this ensure that candidates are assessed objectively? At best, qualification-based job descriptions are shortcuts to bad decisions. They donít describe the work that needs to get done; they describe the skills a person supposedly needs to have for doing the work. We have unemployed youth who can do the votersí registration work successfully. By not describing the real work that needs to get done, lots of time is spent looking for the wrong person. Understanding real job needs should be the primary task of recruiters.
As far as Iím concerned, if recruiters are unwilling to spend time to clarify expectations before they recruit potential candidates, they shouldnít be recruiters. Using job descriptions requires more technology and more reporting to track individual candidates applying for jobs. This is unnecessary. The emphasis in the early stages of sourcing should be on attracting someoneís attention, not reporting.
The best people tend to have less experience or different experience, but they more than make up for this with potential and talent. My call to the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) is to look beyond and appoint people who can do the job, whether from Grade 10 or whether they have scored less than 25. Even if they do apply, the person doing the screening will consider the person too lightweight. For this reason alone, job descriptions listing absolute levels of skills and experiences should be banned.
Good people apply for a job because of the work they will be doing, not the skills they possess. A person can possess all of the skills, experience, industry background, and academic qualifications listed in the traditional way and still not be able to achieve the results desired. This could be for a variety of reasons; including that the person is bored or the person took the job for the wrong reasons.
Whatever the reason, itís far better to prepare a high-level overview of the job with a quick description of the challenges and big projects like the election registration. These types of performance-based job descriptions will quickly broaden the pool of top people applying. During the interview you can use more detailed performance profiles to accurately assess fit using a one-question behavioural interview.
If someone without the exact mix of skills and experiences listed on the job description can do the work, then the factors listed are misleading. Because something is measurable (e.g., Grade 12 with 25 points) doesnít mean itís a valid predictor or an objective measure of on-the-job performance. In fact, companies promote or move people internally who donít have the listed skills or experiences based on different criteria (generally their past performance and future potential), but somehow companies donít use this same criteria to attract and recruit people from the outside. I find this odd.
A good on-board programme typically begins with a review of the real requirements of the job, including the expected results. Clarifying expectations this way has been shown to increase on-the-job performance, reduce turnover, and improve personal satisfaction. Once on the job, employees are evaluated based on what theyíve accomplished in comparison to what they should have accomplished. These types of performance-based job descriptions are far more useful than qualifications-based job descriptions for on-boarding, but somehow this basic management principle is ignored when recruiting the person.
Once you have a particular job in mind, its better if you emphasise the results, opportunities, and challenges involved in the job, rather than composing a laundry list of specific skills and desirable characteristics. I refer to this type of ďnew ageĒ performance-based job description as a performance profile.