Think Again: Avoid the Everything and the Kitchen Sink Job Description


01 Aug
01Aug

Many business owners and managers have no idea how to identify the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics or KSAOs for a job position. Fewer still know what they should do with that information once it is found. This article will help you understand the process of conducting a thorough review of the requirements of a job position and what to do with your findings once you have them. 

Identifying the KSAOs for a position is the first step in completing a job analysis, which is used to determine the tasks, responsibilities, skills, objectives, and work environment for a specific job. A job analysis is generally used to craft a compelling job description, but when done well, the job analysis can become a road map for how a particular role adds value for a team and organization.  It is important to keep in mind that a job analysis is focused on the skills and attributes needed for a specific role, not the person currently doing the job. 

A high-quality job analysis contains details on everything from roles and expectations to onboarding plans and day-to-day tasks.  This level of detail improves candidate experience, sets accurate 30-60-90-day goals, and can be used as a solid foundation for performance reviews in the future.  It may be a bit time-consuming, but the process pays off in the long run. This article will cover the first step of the analysis process- identifying the KSAOs of a job position. 

1) Review the job requirements.

 The first step to conducting a job analysis is to identify the day-to-day tasks and expectations of the position. Work conditions, the specific equipment used, and the level of supervision should be included as well as information on internal and external interactions with others. This information provides a snapshot of the general job requirements and an overview of the basic skills needed for the position. 

2) Identify the KSAOs

 Perhaps less straightforward is the process of identifying the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics needed to be successful in the position.  It can be tough to get an accurate view. Still, it’s worth it for both management and employees to spend time dedicated to identifying potential competencies required by the candidate to become successful in their role. 

By way of quick definition: KSAOs are a way to identify the parameters a candidate needs to be successful in a specific role.  They stand for: 

Knowledge - what they know (for example, do they have knowledge of marketing best practices)? 

Skills - What skills do they need to have (for example, are they proficient in Excel)? 

Abilities- What are their abilities (for example, are they a fast learner or problem solver)? 

Other characteristics- What other qualities are needed for this position (for example, does the job require physical strength or a specific communication style)? There are several methods for collecting this information, from interviews of co-workers to exit questionnaires, but it should be a team effort.  

Don't rely on your gut to tell you what KSAOs are needed for a role.  Direct observation is always best when collecting this type of information, but also make sure to get feedback from co-workers, managers, and even other organizations with like positions to help determine these parameters. 

3) Research similar job descriptions or positions.

 Once you've conducted your own assessment of the role, take some time to research similar job descriptions.  The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics website, O*NET, is an excellent resource for determining KSAOs related to specific job titles. The site provides extensive detail about nearly 1,000 jobs based on samples from all over the country and can help identify gaps in your analysis upon comparison. 

Identifying the KSAOs for your job listing is a critical step in determining the core competencies needed for the position.  Getting this step right from the start will not only aid you in the Interview Dive process but can inform decisions on performance and growth for that position for years to come. It may be a time-consuming endeavor, but it is an essential step in the intentional interview process. 

Once you know what you truly need in this role, head over to Interview Dive to create an interview guide that asks the right questions to fill this role fast and right, the first time.