Creating a Job Description: a New Perspective

By Dana Sacco

manangingyourbusinessAs your eyecare practice expands, it becomes necessary to add new people, something that will change the dynamics of your existing team.

Let’s look at adding a front-line secretary. Here are some questions to consider:

  • To whom will this person report?
  • Does the new candidate’s personality complement the leader’s strengths and weaknesses and create a balance in the workplace?
  • How many staff will be affected by the new person’s responsibilities?
  • Is this an independent or a collaborative role?
  • How quickly and effectively can this person learn a new role?

Why consider so many things for such a junior position? Because turnover is expensive and bad hires result in wasted staffing and financial resources, interrupted customer service and possible errors made during training. If the person stays beyond 90 days, it can be very costly and possibly unpleasant to fire them.

My consulting practice is based on organizational behaviour. I use the Predictive Index®, a scientifically validated behaviour assessment, to understand the personalities of people and how they interact. Now I want to apply this same concept to the job description, using the PRO-Performance Requirement Option™ (PRO) or job description.

As an employer, it’s important to take time to better understand the roles people must play to be successful on the job. If I hire based strictly on knowledge, skills and experience, not only am I gambling on the fit but also on the productivity and general happiness of the person in the position. But if the candidate’s natural behaviours strongly correlate to those required to do the job, I set that person up for success and ultimately contribute to the success of the eyecare practice.

Most people are familiar with interview questions such as: “Are you a team player?” And most candidates sell themselves as being collaborative. But about half of all personality types are not innately collaborative. Therefore, if the actual job description requires collaboration you have a 50/50 chance of accidentally finding a “team player”.

The purpose of defining the role with a scientifically derived benchmark is that you can strategically hire to that benchmark. You can use the online PRO tool to create what you believe will make a person successful on the job. The PRO is a three-page list of common workplace behaviours, each of which is matched to a subset of defined personality traits. The result of selecting the behaviours necessary for the role is depicted in a graph, which has four dots representing different behaviours. Next, use the Predictive Index to assess the list of job applicants. The results of the Predictive index are also depicted in a graph. A trained analyst can derive a lot of information from the graph, including the most predictable and observable behaviours of the person under stress, their energy level and capacity to absorb stress, their decision-making style and engagement.

Here is a sample Pro I created for a position for which I am hiring. It has a distinct “checkmark” pattern. In this case, the meaning of the dots is not relevant. Simply observe the orientation of the graph to the mid-point triangle.





Now, compare the following graphs that show the Predictive Index results of three candidates. Again, the meaning of the dots is not relevant. In the graph for Tina, note the orientation of the dots to the mid-point and notice that instead of a checkmark pattern this candidate has a “Z”-shaped graph. The significance lies in the differences. Tina would experience great stress if she had to alter her behaviours to match the PRO for an extended time.






The next candidate, Dee, has a pattern similar to the PRO and would not have to alter her behaviour to fit the role. We can conclude that because the behaviours are natural forDee, she will thrive in the role.





The last candidate, Linda, has a check mark pattern but it is the opposite of the pattern depicted in the PRO. Like Tina, Linda would be a proverbial “fish out of water” in the role of optometric secretary.






Dee’s graph, which resulted from the five-minute Predictive Index assessment, closely matches the graph created by the PRO. Each dot represents behavioural characteristics and is consistent with a group of behaviours defined by over 500 PhD-level scientific validations. IfDeehas skills, education and experience to supplement her natural ability (check résumé and references) she would be a very strong candidate.

It is a proven fact that engaged employees are more productive. A management strategy designed around data generated by scientifically validated behavioural assessments is a very credible and powerful way to develop your business. Most importantly, unlike other behavioural assessments, the Predictive Index is compliant with hiring standards and does not expose your company to the risk of litigation.