Defining the job you need to fill

When managers are faced with the task of filling an open position, they focus on the basics of the job search and getting the right/best person for the job.

That is understandable, but what can be overlooked in the search for the perfect candidate is the position itself. It is possible that, over time, the skills needed in a job can change, or that the job has evolved because of external forces or even the talents or work habits of an individual who held it.

During the 2014 Nonprofit Risk Summit, Erin Gloeckner and Melanie Lockwood Herman of the Nonprofit Management Risk Center said that the first step in the screening process of a job search is to define the position. This means asking the following crucial questions:

  • Why is the position needed?
  • What was the objective of the position when it was created?
  • Is the position still needed?
  • Have the original objectives changed?
  • Has the organizational support for the position been sufficient?
  • What has changed since the position was created?
  • How should the position change to meet the current needs?
  • Who within the organization will provide oversight and supervision?
  • Where will the individual be physically situated?
  • What supplies and equipment are required to support the position?
  • What other logistical considerations are there?