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Job Posting and Peer Nomination

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Job Posting

After the candidate pool has been assembled, the next step is usually for a personnel specialist to examine the files of candidates, scrutinize appraisals of their performance, talk to their current managers, and finally prepare a list of the 5 to 10 most promising persons. Those who have done this task are aware of the petty, invalid factors that sometimes preclude the listing of some employees. If for example a manager is out of the country, no one will approve a candidate in his absence. Another man is rejected because of a note of hesitation in his boss's voice as he describes his qualifications. Still another person is dropped from the list because his manager assures the personnel office a promotion is imminent within his own department.

Assembling the candidate pool provides a unique opportunity to give employees access to the system. A simple device-job posting-will do it. This calls for posting in a predetermined place a brief description of the open position, the assumed qualifications of incumbents, the salary attached to the work, and a request for those who feel themselves qualified to apply in a specified fashion.

This system has enormous advantages. It says to every employee, "We want you to know about our openings and their requirements so that you can get yourself ready. We are open-minded about candidates. We want to be certain no one is overlooked." It would be impossible to buy the kind of favorable reaction employees have to such an attitude. Furthermore, it forces a manager to think through realistic requirements for the job in question. He would feel foolish indeed if his published notice didn't make sense. At the same time, it truly allows the employee to function as his own career manager. It helps him to review the current state of his experience, the direction in which he wants to move, and the nature of a good potential position while he evaluates both the work and monetary value of the posted opening. Job posting thus gives the employee, personal involvement in the organization's career advancement process and a share in the responsibility for its successful operation.

To the administrator or personnel director, the disadvantages may loom large. He foresees that he will be forced to interview and otherwise investigate a large number of unqualified people and turn them down. This is time-consuming, delicate work and risks upsetting some employees if they are not pleased with the reasons given for their rejection. This means increased effort and expense for management.

These problems are temporary. When the system is first introduced, employees, especially overly confident candidates, naturally want to test it. After that, they display quite good judgment, and few unsuitable applicants come forward. There is indeed some extra work, but the advantages make it worthwhile. Frequently, it brings employees who had been overlooked to the attention of placement people. Records are updated to show completed course work, outside activities, and other matters that may influence future placement decisions. Hidden grievances arc brought to light where they can be resolved, and improper management tactics are revealed in time for appropriate action to be taken.

There are some legitimate problems. A manager may wish to initiate a quiet search because he has decided that the incumbent is not working out but docs not wish to hurt him by advertising the fact. Job posting here may need to be delayed or disguised, or the incumbent may have to be given a temporary assignment. But these situations are likely to occur in a minority of cases.

Peer Nomination

A procedure that works well with job posting is peer nomination for posted positions. Some capable individuals underrate themselves or for some other reason hesitate to declare themselves in competition for an opening. It's possible and in many cases desirable to encourage any employee learning of an opening to suggest the name of an associate or former manager he thinks is qualified for consideration. It's useful to ask the nominator to give the reasons for his choice and to supply his name if he is willing to be contacted for further information.

Since peer nomination adds to the administrative burden, an organization may want to initiate job posting first and add nomination by associates later.

Some years ago, the most frequent method for bringing a young man into a firm was to place him in a rotation program for a period of time, usually lasting from six months to two years. While this is still used to some extent, the practice has lessened somewhat in recent years. Young college graduates have developed their technical competence to a high degree, and they're eager to settle into a job and use it. Many are newly married and anxious to stay in one place, either to start a family or to enable their wives to begin their careers. Perhaps job rotation options should be available at about the five-year point. Here's why.

After five years or so-and the number is flexible-a man begins to know his own capabilities a little better. He also becomes familiar with the nature of opportunities in the firm. He's more certain about what sacrifices he is willing to make for his career. Consequently, he often reopens the question of what he wants to do with his working life. If at this point a rotation program were open to him, it might present an ideal way to explore some alternatives and try his talents in somewhat different environments and under other managers. It would open new job opportunities for him, perhaps give him new sponsorship, and in general help him embark on the second stage of his career with more enthusiasm and confidence.

At first examination of this procedure, the administrative burden may seem large. While it is not insignificant, it is not as great as it may seem. Not all employees will take advantage of the program. Some will be deeply involved in jobs with which they are quite happy. Others will not want to take the risk of giving up a reasonable situation for an unknown one. Still others will have decided that they will reach their personal objectives through their present positions. These eliminations make the program workable.

Men and assignments must be selected carefully, suitable compensation arrangements need to be developed, and there must be advance agreement on how long a program can be sustained economically. Since the men are experienced, they should be easier to place on completion of the program than are new, young people. There would certainly be administrative costs. But companies are on the lookout for attractive new benefits to offer management and professional employees, and this program is certainly attractive to the man seeking career alternatives, yet relatively low in cost. For the firm, broadening the experience of employees through rotating assignments adds substantially to the candidate pool for higher-level positions.
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