Lou Adler: Using Job Descriptions to Hire the Right People

home-office-336378__180There are four basic work types, says Lou Adler, best-selling author and the CEO and founder of The Adler Group. In a recent post on LinkedIn, Adler outlined those four types and how to identify these types of candidates by changing how hiring managers write their job descriptions and interview potential employees.

Thinkers are people who create and develop concepts, ideas, products, and ways of thinking about processes, people, and tasks, Adler says. They can fill positions anywhere from business strategists to creative artists and writers. Adler offered the following example. Instead of saying a candidate needed an MBA from a prestigious university, the job description called for someone who could the lead the development of a three-year product roadmap – two very different things. The first identifies a job qualification, where the second defines a performance objective.

Builders are workers who take ideas and turn them into something tangible. Adler says they are often entrepreneurs, inventors, experts, or even one-time project managers of major initiatives. To identify a builder, a job description might say “overhaul the entire factory workflow in 6 months.” This is preferable to saying “10+ years of high volume stamping experience in the automotive OEM industry.” Not only does the first descriptor better explain the position, but it also outlines expectations. The second descriptor merely defines experience criteria.

Employers looking for Improvers want people who can focus on managing processes, people, and departments, according to Adler. To identify this type of candidate, a job description should explain what types of improvements or upgrades are expected within the first year.

Producers are individuals who apply their technical skills, repeat processes, and serve customers, suppliers, and co-workers. They are the quality control. Instead of asking for X years of experience doing Y in the job description, Adler recommends that hiring managers change the language to identify a specific performance objective like “identify and prioritize the major accounts in the Z region and increase sales by X% during the first Y months.”

Adler summarizes by recommending that hiring managers identify a position’s top six to eight performance objectives, listed in priority order and by work type. To identify candidates who are good matches, candidates should be able to describe experience and accomplishments relevant to the top three or four objectives.

For more on the topic, see the original post by Adler on LinkedIn. For more hiring insight and advice, visit our blog, or sign up for our free email list.

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Diana Albertson




Diana Albertson, CEO

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