Determining the Need for a New Position
Whether you’re a startup or an established business, whether you’re big or small, you’ll likely face a need for new positions at some point. Jobs are usually created when your business is dealing with a gap or labor shortage. How can you determine the gap and start creating jobs?
Here are seven common indicators that your business needs a new role:
- Employees are working longer hours.
- If an entire department is consistently staying late, it’s obvious that they’re shorthanded. But if even one employee is consistently exceeding his or her normal work schedule, this can be a sign that you need to bring someone else on board. Aside from busier times of year, no employees should have to frequently work longer than their designated work hours. Just make sure your late workers are actually working and that it’s not a production issue or poor time management.
- Employees are regularly doing tasks that don’t fit their job duties.
- While employees should be team players and occasionally take on tasks outside their regular duties, this shouldn’t interfere with their daily work. If you’ve got employees who are always wearing several hats, especially if their actual work is starting to suffer, it may be time to hire someone new.
- Employees seem more stressed or busier than usual.
- Most offices have workaholics who are always talking about how busy they are, and every business has times that are more hectic than others. But if it isn’t a particularly demanding time of year or you’re hearing more complaints about stress, pay attention. This might be a sign that your employees are being overworked and need an extra hand or two.
- You’re spending a lot on outsourcing, consultants or contractors.
- Contractors are usually cheaper than employees, but if you’re relying heavily upon them, the costs can exceed hiring an employee. If you outsource a lot of work, you also run the risk of exercising too much control over contractors, which may lead to misclassification – and heavy fines – come tax season. By hiring a regular employee, you can retain more control over the work being done, and you’re guaranteed more consistent results.
- You have a need that no current employee can fill.
- This may seem like an obvious reason to hire someone, but it’s often overlooked. For example, if you need to bring in more customers, hire a marketer. If you want to start local deliveries, hire a truck driver. Whatever needs you have, make sure that you’re meeting them by bringing on the proper employees to take care of them.
- Increasing demand for your products or services.
- Even for temporary upswings, consider bringing in a part-time or seasonal employee to help. If you think it’s a permanent increased demand, you’re going to want to hire new employees, full-time, sooner rather than later. They’ll be able to complete their training and be ready to perform before they’re really needed.
- You have extra money.
- Reinvesting in your company is one of the best things to do with excess funds. Hiring someone new isn’t always a fix to a current problem, either. It can also be a way to expand your company and increase your output.
It can be time-consuming to create jobs and hire new people, but, if you’re facing any of the problems above, your workforce will be happier and more productive if you do.
Questions to Ask Before Creating the Job
Once you’ve determined the need for a new job, it’s time to get the ball rolling on actually creating the job. But before you seek approval to start this process, you’ll want to answer these 10 essential questions:
- What do you need done?
- This could be a gap that’s causing problems for current employees, or it could be an initiative to help grow or expand your business. What are the day-to-day tasks that you need done? What are the overarching goals you wish to accomplish?
- Is this short-term or long-term?
- For short-term needs, consider bringing in a contractor or temp to do the job. If your need is more long-term, then it’s time to think about creating a new job. Even if the need is long-term, is it something that only occurs occasionally? You might consider creating a part-time or seasonal position instead.
- How will this benefit the company in both the near and distant future?
- To get the go-ahead to create a job, you’ll likely need to prove the benefit to your company, Will bringing in someone new increase exposure and profits in the short-term? Or is this the first step in a major expansion?
- Can any current employees, alone or by department, take on these tasks?
- Speak with employees who are currently performing related tasks. Is it possible for them to take on extra work? If the job duties are divvied up among a group of people, would this fulfill your needs?
- Do we have the budget?
- It doesn’t matter how badly you need something done. If the money isn’t there, the money isn’t there. Revisit your company’s objectives. Would it be possible to revise the new job to be part-time or seasonal to save on costs? If you’re looking for someone to take on a supervisory role, could you promote someone within your business to free up an entry-level position instead?
- Will the gains outweigh the costs?
- Hiring someone isn’t cheap. At the end of the day, will you be making more money than you’re spending on training, salary and benefits? Will this offset the costs of purchasing new equipment or otherwise investing in the new role?
- Do we have the space?
- Expanding your current location might not be an option, due to cost or space limitations. Where will you set up the new employee’s workspace? If you don’t have any more room in your office, is it possible to hire someone to work remotely?
- Who will be in charge of this role?
- As you finalize your plan to bring in someone new, you should determine how the person will fit into the current organization. What will the chain of command be? Do the affected managers have time to take on and help train new subordinates?
- How will other employees be affected by this role?
- Will your new employee be joining an established team? Will he or she take over any tasks from current employees? If the position is a supervisory role, who will the person be in charge of?
- Do we have the time to hire and train a new employee?
- Hiring takes time – and so does training. Can your business afford to take the time to interview and properly train new employees? Who will be in charge of these tasks, and how will this affect their workload?
Writing a Job Description for the Job
Writing a job description for a new position is challenging. You probably have a few tasks or broad objectives in mind but you still need to work through the specifics. If you’re at a total loss, here are a few things to help you with the process:
- Look at job listings for similar positions, preferably for competitors. These listings will most closely match your own requirements. If there are no postings within your industry, however, you may be able to find advertisements for comparable jobs in other trades. Read through several listings to get a feel for the typical functions of a job. Do the listings cover any duties you hadn’t considered? Or are you listing too many duties that aren’t included on other job descriptions? Narrow your list down to the absolute essentials; then, add specifics tailored to your own business and its processes.
- Consult with your supervisors to see if anything should be added... Once you’ve created a list of job duties, check with any supervisors who will be in charge of the new employee to make sure their needs will be met, based on the proposed description. They may identify some gaps in the description and want to add some duties to round it out. If possible, ask them to highlight which three duties are the most essential. Also try to meet with any other high-ranking employees who will be working with the new hire, even in a non-supervisory role. They may also have suggestions for tasks to add to your description.
- ... or subtracted from the listing. Supervisors may tell you that some tasks are already being addressed by current employees. Remove those duties from your list if existing employees are handling the tasks capably and don’t require support. However, if the long-term plan is to shift these tasks to the new employee, consider including them in the job description, especially if the new hire will handle these duties in the first year. In this case, a quick discussion with the employee currently performing these tasks may provide additional insight on the matter.
- Edit the job description one more time. The longer the description, the less likely it will be read by candidates. While it may be tempting to include every little detail, don’t. Boil the description down to the most essential functions, as pointed out by managers and other top-level employees involved with the position. Review this final description with the potential employee’s direct supervisor to make sure it’s accurate. Once it meets approval, the job description is ready to go, and it’s time to write the rest of the job advertisement.
Next Step: What to Consider Before Advertising the Job
After writing the job description for your new position, the next step is to craft the advertisement. Although the description is the hardest and most important part, the other components to the listing take time to draft as well. In addition to a solid job description, you need to know:
- Job ranking and title: Many applicants search for jobs by job title, so it’s important to include something indicative of the position, even if you end up changing the title later. Determining the rank of the job will help to create at least a temporary job title. Additionally, for mid- and senior-level positions, candidates will want to know how many direct reports they’ll have, so this should be included in the advertisement. Even for entry-level jobs, applicants might be curious how many managers they’ll report to. While you probably won’t include that information in your job advertisement, you should know the answer in case the question is asked.
- Job requirements: Based upon the tasks you’ve assigned to the job, think about who your ideal applicant would be and identify a list of necessary skills and experience Take a few moments to review advertisements for similar jobs from competitors or businesses in other industries. Are their requirements less strict than your own? It’s okay if your own listing varies; not every job or company will have the exact same needs. But if you’re advertising an entry-level position and are asking for five years of experience while your competition is only calling for one, you may be overestimating what’s truly required for the job.
- Hours and location: It may seem obvious, but work hours and location are crucial information and need to be included in your listing. You should stipulate whether the job is full-time or part-time and what typical work hours will be. For part-time roles, include how many hours workers can expect per week. Businesses with multiple locations should specify which branch the position is for. If your business decides to advertise anonymously, you should at least include a city or neighborhood in your listing.
- Salary and benefits: Not all job ads offer salary and benefits information, but all candidates will want to know. Regardless of whether you choose to include the information in the listing, you’ll want to have an answer ready when candidates ask. Even if you opt out of divulging specifics on the advertisement, you might want to include a sentence or note – for example, “Includes benefits” – since this will often grab the attention of jobseekers.
Determining Pay for a New Position
Whenever you create a job, it’s important to establish a salary as well. Even if you opt out of including salaries on job advertisements, you’ll need to know how much you’ll pay the new employee. But without a previous income to compare to, how can you determine what’s fair pay? Here are some tips to get you started:
- Examine your company’s budget
- No matter how much you’d like to pay your new employee, you’ll always have budgetary considerations. Find out how much your company can afford before conducting any other research. You’ll save a lot of time if you know your limits and work within them.
- Study the market
- Put some time into researching the typical going rate for this or similar jobs. If you can find salary information on companies within your industry, those numbers will help even more. There are a growing number of websites that collect and share company information, including salaries, as well as basic salary calculators. Turn to external resources for as much information as possible.
- Factor in cost of living
- The cost of living in Boston is very different from, say, Oshkosh. If you’re finding salaries from companies in cities more expensive than yours, it’s safe to say that you can get away with paying your new employee less than that amount. On the other hand, if your business is in an area with a higher cost of living and your competitors are located in smaller towns, you’ll need to supplement the average salary to meet the additional living expenses.
- Look into your own company
- Within your own business, how do your employees’ salaries stack up against market averages? Do you typically pay above, below or at market? Find out the salaries of current employees in similar roles or rankings to make sure your new hire will be paid on par with others in your company.
- Consider the employee
- Once you’ve figured out a salary range from the above sources, you need to factor in the person you’ll actually be hiring. How does he or she measure up against the other candidates or your initial requirements? If the person you decide to hire is considerably more skilled or experienced than what you asked for in the job listing, you might want to offer higher pay to help sway the applicant’s decision to accept the position. If, however, the candidate who best fits your company’s needs only meets or falls a little bit short of your posted requirements, it might be wiser to offer a salary on the lower end of your initial range.
Hiring for a New Position
You’ve determined the need for a new job. You’ve been given the go-ahead from your company to start looking for someone. Plus, you’ve hired people in the past, so the hard part’s over, right? Not quite.
Hiring for a new position is very different than hiring a replacement. When filling an existing position, you have a point of comparison.
Regardless of how the employee performed, you know what worked and, equally as important, what didn’t work. You can easily write a job description that clearly outlines the duties and objectives the role requires. A chain of command has already been established, and you’re aware of the other employees who will interact with the new hire. Salary negotiations are also easier since you have a previous salary as reference.
New positions don’t offer these advantages, so filling them is harder. You might not have a solid grasp on the exact tasks and duties, aside from the most essential functions. Besides a direct supervisor and other members of a department, you might not know who else will regularly interact with your new hire, making it harder to determine which employees should interview candidates. Also, although you probably have a pre-determined budget to help figure out a salary, you’ll find negotiations more difficult without a precedent.
Because of these challenges, here are five tips to make hiring for a new position easier:
- Take your time with the hiring process.
- Even if you need someone immediately, don’t rush into writing an advertisement or evaluating candidates. It’s important to thoroughly assess your needs to best determine your objectives and the duties of the job. This will help you attract and find the best candidates for the role.
- Do your research.
- If you know someone performing a particular job at a different organization, especially within your industry, try to set up a meeting to get information. Find out what the role usually entails, as well as a salary range. If you don’t know anyone you can ask, look into job postings for similar positions to see what experience level and skills are specified. Review the job descriptions to get an idea of what the new employee will do on a daily basis.
- Bring more applicants in for interviews.
- With replacement jobs, you have a good idea of what to look for in a candidate. When hiring for a new position, however, you might not know exactly what you want or need. The more people you bring in, the better your chances of finding a perfect fit.
- Delve deeper into applicant backgrounds.
- Interviews should always follow an 80/20 rule (where the candidate does most of the talking), but this is even more important when hiring for a new position. You’ll want to ask thoughtful questions to draw out relevant experience and soft skills. Err on the side of asking too many questions. You never know what details will emerge to help guide your decision.
- Seek out a good attitude.
- No matter how much you plan for a new position, you’ll never have a complete understanding of what the role will entail until you get someone behind a desk or on the floor. There are bound to be changes, and there will probably be some aspects that don’t work out. Try to find someone who’s flexible and willing to roll with the punches while you refine the position to best serve you and the employee.