Smart Lemming Diary: 10 Reasons for a Job-to-Person Mismatch

zen-rocks-balanceDecember 28, 2005

Post-Christmas is always a weird time in offices. Fortunately, I have fun projects on my plate such as the corporate website redesign, the channel management function, and a new marketing position. My top priority is to identifying any obstacles, so I can prevent and correcting a job-to-person mismatch. Ideally, creating a team that’s balanced in skills, temperament, experience.

Preparing for the Interview Process

After demonstrating my department’s need for more resources using my Marketing Department Workload Analysis, we’re preparing to interview for my second marketing headcount of a marketing operations specialist. It will be nice to have my CEO on vacation, so I can get organized again and be ready for 2006.

Today, as I prepare to interview an internal candidate for my marketing operations specialist, I’ve revisited one of my favorite books, The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave: How to Recognize the Subtle Signs and Act Before It’s Too Late by Leigh Branham. Branham discusses, “The mismatch between job and person.” The  internal candidate for my position is a young woman, who’s quiet and reserved. She’s smart, meticulous, and has her master’s degree in Publishing Production. She used to work for our company prior to her master’s degree. After attaining her advanced degree, she returned as a contractor, hoping for a permanent job. I’ve reviewed her resume and have talked with her former boss and current supervisor, our COO, who highly recommends her.

7-hidden-reasons-people-leave-leigh-branhamIdentifying Obstacles to Preventing and Correcting Job-Person Mismatch

All things being equal; I’d like her for the job. However, I wanted to review the mismatch between job and person in the book, so I could either ask the right questions in the interview or if I do get her for the job, then prepare to manage her with this in the back of my mind to avoid any potential problems. According to Branham, the job-person mismatch is caused by deficiencies or organizational leadership and HR department. Here’s their list, some are attributable to the manager and others to the individual with my comments:

  1. The organization doesn’t have a basic job description – Good, I have this covered. Not only do I have a job description, but also a list of projects and tasks.
  2. The organization is using out dated job descriptions as a basis for screening, interviewing, and hiring – N/A.
  3. The organization has so narrowly defined the activities of a job that employees who occupy that job feel they have no room to perform the job in a way that makes best use of their strengths – N/A. I strongly urge direct reports to pursue projects or priorities that allow them to stretch or development new skills.
  4. The organization hasn’t analyzed jobs based on key targeted results to determine the critical few talents that distinguish top performers from average performers in each role – Company’s too little to formalize. However, below average performers are removed from organization quickly. Currently, Management Team knows who the top performers are.
  5. The fast pace of the organization and/or the manager has created a tendency to rush through the interview process and makes hires without careful evaluations – Yes, we’re moving fast; however, with internal references and her stellar performance record, combined with her reputation for being one of the top performers negates this.
  6. Senior leaders have failed to establish a rigorous talent evaluation process, both for new hires and for current employees, as part of career/succession planning process – We haven’t gotten there yet.
  7. Seniors leaders and managers have over promoted the idea of “selecting the best” instead of “selecting the best fit” – CEO’s been pushing me to find the best fit.
  8. There has been an excessive focus on eliminating employee weaknesses through coaching and training when it could have been wiser in many cases to put those employees into new roles where they can better capitalize on their greatest strengths – The company’s learned the hard way on this one are now open to finding other roles for employees.
  9. Organizational values, structures, and policies have reinforced the idea that the only way to grow professionally is to be promoted – N/A. The company has made a committed to employees that we will help employees grow professionally.
  10. Hires made from limited talent pool have greatly limited the chances of finding an acceptable match – Yes, my pool is very small, but if I need to, I’ll recruit from outside the company.

I think we’ll be able to prevent and correct any potential job-person mismatch with our internal candidate. We interview her on Thursday, so it will be interesting to finally talk to her personally about the position and to gauge her understated interest in the job. I’m optimistic that we can avoid the ten reasons for a job-to-person mismatch is we go into this process understanding how to avoid the situations.

Website Redesign

My CEO’s in the office only two days this week. This gives me time to catch up on the website redesign project that my Marketing Manager and I are working on. I’m having a contractor add our revised content into the Microsoft Content Management tool, so our CEO will have an easier time to review and provide feedback.

My Marketing Manager has a lot on his plate, but hopefully we can get back on this project next week. I need to write a functional specifications document for the return on investment (RIO) sales tool that we’re adding to the website, based on our CTO’s ROI calculator spreadsheet. It’s used for the ROI Financial Dashboard sales tool I’ve customized for our startup. I need our CTO to provide me with development resources to build the ROI Calculator on the website. My target date is end of January for a go-live on the new redesign.

Assessing the Channel Management Function

I also need to think through the channel management function that my CEO may choose to hand-off to me. I’ve been thinking about the functions, roles, and responsibilities for the function that my CEO discussed with me. I plan on assessing our current value-added reseller effectiveness, so I can identify a plan to monitor VAR performance to goals/forecast. A lesser priority is helping my CEO with a VAR strategy, but I have been thinking about that detail too. On Thursday, I may meet with him to discuss viability of me taking on this responsibility.

The Smart Lemming Diary is a series that chronicles a journey of laid-off worker, who becomes a Vice President of Sales Operations & Marketing for a small entrepreneurial healthcare technology company. For previous entries in this series, click here. For the first diary entry, click here. For the highlighted Smart Lemming Diary entries, click here.