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Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS)

Recruitment Selection Process: Job Design Profile

Reference Number: MTAS-1261
Reviewed Date: 08/14/2023

Customizing your Recruitment Selection Process using the Job Design Profile
Hiring personnel is probably the most important function city officials will ever fulfill during their tenure. Consider the decisions and actions that the person you hire is going to generate and how those decisions and actions will affect your organization and your community. A sound recruitment and selection process should never use shortcuts. It is worth the time and effort required to do it correctly. A sound, systematic and fair recruiting and selection process also is an effective safeguard against potential challenges by rejected applicants.

When you have successfully created a mental picture of the new employee performing the job you want accomplished, you are ready to customize the job. Customizing means thinking through and writing down the specific characteristics that you desire. The word “specific” is key. When you customize, you are putting the mental picture into words. Customizing the job provides you with a valuable working tool called the job design profile. This also is referred to as a job analysis.

The job design profile is a guide used as a standard to evaluate the candidates who apply for the position. It also is the basis for the job description, which is discussed in the next chapter. Its contents may vary depending upon the position, but it always provides an outline of the qualities, skills, and characteristics that you, as the person conducting the hiring, are looking for in the new employee.

Let’s look at an example:

You need to hire a department head. The city’s public works director is preparing to retire, and you must hire a qualified replacement as soon as possible. You have given it a lot of thought. You may need to revise the job description.

Begin by writing a description of the job as you see it. Ask yourself the question “What is the public works director’s job?” Be as specific and complete as you can.

Second, decide on and note the type and extent of education and experience required and desired. Is a bachelor’s degree required or a master’s degree? Or, are either desired but not required? Do you want the new person to have a degree in a specific educational area, for example, engineering or public administration? How much practical public works experience should the person have? State this in terms of years and the kind of experience required or desired (for example, more than 10 years as an assistant director or at least five years as a director in a community of at least 5,000 population).

Third, write down the five most important personal descriptive characteristics that you want the new public works director to have, and rank them. For example:

  • Confident decision maker
  • Innovative in creating new ideas
  • Outgoing personality
  • Practical problem solver
  • Tactful in addressing adverse groups

Fourth, list the five most important professional characteristics you want the new public works director to have, and rank them. For example:

  • Engineering skills
  • Productivity oriented
  • Results oriented
  • Communication skills

In developing this list you must match characteristics to the written description that you have already prepared. Ask yourself, “Are these the characteristics needed to do the job that I want done the way that I want it?”

Fifth, write down the five most important job challenges or targets that you expect the new director to overcome and accomplish, and rank them. For example:

  • Reorganize the department
  • Develop a five-year street improvement program
  • Improve employee productivity
  • Be responsive to citizen requests
  • Reduce the cost of garbage collection

Taken together these items are the job design profile.