What To Do When You Don’t Understand The Job You’re Hiring For

It’s your job to hire the best person for every job opening, but what happens when you don’t understand the job you’re hiring for?

Puzzled Recruiter With Hands Raised Picture

As an HR professional, you’re probably a whiz at sorting through resumes, evaluating cover letters, communicating with job recruits, writing job ads, interviewing potential job candidates, recruiting top talent, asking the right questions, dealing with contracts, checking references, and so much more. But that doesn’t make you an expert on the jobs that you’re hiring for, does it?

At some point you’re going to run across a job opening  that you don’t fully understand. Maybe you need to fill a job in mathematics, engineering, or something you’ve never even heard of before. These are challenging topics to wrap your head around. Yet, it’s your job to make the right hire. It’s a scary and risky task when you lack the expertise to properly evaluate a candidate.

When you find yourself in a position where you don’t understand the job you’re hiring for, here’s what to do:

  • Ask For Help – If you don’t understand the job, someone you know will. Check in with your professional network, ask a department manager, or hit up your LinkedIn connections. Someone you know will be able to guide you through the hiring process.
  • Look For Experience – You need to hire a competent professional who can produce results. Don’t ever hire someone new to do something you don’t totally understand. Find a job candidate that has a proven track record.
  • Never Assume – Just because someone says they can do something, doesn’t mean they can do it. Get a candidate to produce sample work, check their references, or view their portfolio.
  • Give The Job A Test Run – Contact someone who actually does the job and see if you can shadow them for a day or two. This way you can gain experience and see what the job is all about. Ask lots of questions. The more you know and the more experience you can get, the easier it will be to evaluate potential job candidates.
  • Guest Interviewers – It may be your job to interview candidates, but if there is someone in your company that knows more than you about a specific subject, be sure to invite them along for the interview. They may be able to ask specific questions that you’d never be able to think of.
  • Analyze The Interview – In your line of work, you’ve probably developed a keen interview eye. Watch out for any red flags. Stay sharp and if you must, trust your gut.

Take the time to learn about the the skill set and personality that a new hire really needs. You might never be an expert at statistics, software engineering, or search engine optimization, but the more you learn about the positions you need to hire for the easier your job will become.

Good luck!

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