News  & Insights

Getting the right bum on the right seat. It takes more than a job spec.

by Greg O'Shea

Have you ever started something, got half way through it and then realised that you are on the wrong path? 

One thing I hate is wasting time!


I am finding more and more that organisations are not investing enough time in their human capital needs – getting the right bum on the right seat! There are a number of factors causing this and the main one is actually understanding what they truly need the person to do. Sounds simple, but sit down and write a job spec and see how you go. It’s not that easy! For most, it will talk about the day to day elements of the role. While these are important, it more than likely does not address: what needs to be done, the challenges and how you will measure success?


As a business, we utilise a dedicated recruitment tool, Recruit Optimiser that focuses on the challenges and how success will be measured for a role. It requires greater investment up front by the hiring manager but also produces superior results. It is targeted, measurable, and it works. It is a shift from the knee-jerk “recruitment on the run” strategy that many businesses adopt. Do you think speed to market and having every agency under the sun covering people will identify the “goods”? It may, but unless you know what you need the “goods” to be exactly, they may not be any good for your business. Good is a relative thing -we aim to deliver great!


Our 4 step system helps provide you with insight and tools to maximise your ability to get the best talent for your organisation. While the tool requires a little more effort and thought upfront, it will ensure your recruitment process is thorough and successful. The 4 steps are:


  1. Market Careers – not a job

Develop an enticing career value proposition. What are the career benefits? Why should they be interested in your opportunity? You may be surprised that the opportunity may not be as “exciting” as you believe! 

What are the challenges? You want someone who is motivated and will deliver key results, so be clear about what needs to be done, how it needs to be done and how you will measure successful achievement. To attract and excite potential executive professionals, use the identified career benefits and challenges to market a descriptive, challenge orientated career opportunity – not just a job.


  1.  Target Talent- aim to source the best

In the current candidate short market you need to explore all channels for key appointments. Active candidates who will apply to your job ad are obviously proactively using the usual mediums – job boards, networking, recruitment agencies and social media – to explore opportunities but what about passive candidates who are “not looking”, happy and challenged at their current organisation? Your recruitment partner, internal or external, must have the ability to source all the best talent from all possible sources including the untapped passive market via their network and search/research capabilities.


  1. Structured Selection – planning to increase selection success

First, you need to be clear about the skills required by candidates to deliver. The skills they need to possess may not be straight forward. Skills can be broadly categorised into – thinking, acting and knowing. Each of these skills can be further broken down into subskills required to succeed. Prioritise the challenges you have identified and determine all the key skills required to successfully complete them.

This tool will allow you to assess each candidate's ability to deliver on these challenges. This will be done by identifying past relevant examples of performance. You need to think about how your questions are constructed to maximise the potential of discovering whether or not they have the skills you have decided are essential. The questions should identify the relevant Circumstance, probe what Action was taken,  and the Results achieved (or C.A.R) by the individual. This will help clarify whether or not they can deliver on the challenges of the role. 


  1. Opportunity Management – highlight the benefits for the candidate

You are trying to sell the opportunity to the candidate so you need to be "recruiting" them from the outset. A well-constructed and managed interview process will help you build credibility and trust (there’s an art to that but that’s a whole other blog). While quality candidates want to be challenged, you need to market the career opportunity by concentrating on the career value proposition, any skills gap you have identified, and incentives. You want the best-fit candidate who identifies with the career potential you offer them and who will also deliver.  


So next time you need to recruit, take the time to think about what you want the “newbie” to achieve, what challenges they will face and how you will measure success. Don’t just write a job spec, take the extra time and effort to think about what success actually looks like, after all, it isn’t about just getting a bum on a seat but getting the right bum on the right seat!


Are you getting the right bum on the right seat?  If you would like further information on our recruitment methodology and how to apply it to your business, please contact me directly.


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Our mission is to prepare people to have better career conversations, to make great career decisions, to enable individuals and organisations to get the best return out of their relationship.