Performance Profiles Vs. Traditional Skills-Based Job Descriptions

By Ken Paetzold

Despite no longer being the most effective approach to finding the right candidates, traditional skills-based job descriptions are still being used by many companies. Performance profiles can help improve the quality of candidates you attract. This article will discuss some performance profile examples to help you get started.

If your recruiting efforts focus mostly on jobs with traditional descriptions (e.g. x years of experience), then you are potentially missing out on candidates who would better fit the position. The key advantage to performance-based profiles is that they focus on the primary activities and results that determine success within the role.

The Difference Between Traditional Job Descriptions and Performance Profiles

Traditional skill-based job descriptions focus specifically on the job and general skills that are needed for the job. For example, if you were hiring a sales employee, you might post a job description with some of these details:

  • 4-year degree required
  • 3–5 years experience in sales
  • Good people skills
  • Willing to develop product knowledge
  • Detail oriented

All of these are good requirements, but are also too general. They focus on the type of person that you are looking to hire, while ignoring things such as results or performance that the candidate has achieved.

In comparison, a performance-based profile focuses on the results that need to be achieved, and provides more detail about work preferences and daily tasks.

Performance Profile Examples

Here are some details that might be found within a performance profile example job description:

  • Close 20 new customers on a monthly basis
  • Manage several projects while working in an intense environment
  • Organize and deliver sales forms and payment transactions to accounting
  • Achieve quarterly quota of $20,000 in sales
  • Analyze performance trends to improve closing rates

You can see that there is a big difference between the two lists, and the two different job descriptions will attract different types (and qualities) of candidates. Improving the job posting with one of these perfomance profile examples can make a big difference in the types of applications that you receive.

Performance Profiles = Better Interviews = Better Retention

When you post a job with a performance profile, you are clearly articulating what is required of candidates to be successful within that role. This will help attract the right types of candidates and help guide further discussions in the interview process. Candidates will know that they need to speak to each of the performance objectives and how their past success (or current skills) can help your company.

Your applicant tracking system is a key cog in managing the hiring workflow, but nothing can replace putting performance requirements front and center in the job description.

If you are looking for a way to reduce employee churn, then it is important to analyze your hiring process; are you starting with the right employees? 

Using performance profiles (and candidate surveys) makes it easier to see which candidates best match the job that is being filled. When the right person is hired, then it means that they are more likely to succeed with the new job… and they will be more likely to stay with the company long term. Try to include examples of performance profiles in all of your job postings to start finding these quality employees now.