writing a SIEF-smart job description

How do you hire people who will love their jobs?

Step one: make sure it’s a fit.

I’ve started looking at job postings with an eye to the SIEF qualities. Is it for intensives? Expansives? Some unrealistic blend?

So often, organizations will write a job description that’s “We’re looking for a motivated self-starter who innovates and takes initiative, with great attention to detail and a strong collaborative streak.”

<record scratch> seriously?

Because that’s half intensive and half expansive, and your only hope is someone who can fake half of it. But when they get tired or busy, the half they’re faking is going to wear thin.
So I’m reading job postings now, looking for coherence.  Every so often I’ll see a job description in my travels, and I’ll post an assessment of it on my Facebook page.  (You can hire me to do this; drop me a line using the contact form.)
But let me break down what I’m looking for.
Here we go:
Intensives are intense, driven, work-hard-rest-hard, spontaneous, adventurous, risk and chaos tolerant.  Intensives are all-or-nothing.
Expansives are methodical, careful, temperate, planful, work-a-little-every-day, risk and chaos averse. Expansives love compromise.
The continuum, as you know, runs from zero to ten.  Zero is absolutely expansive, ten is absolutely intensive, everyone else falls in the middle, five is the break point.
You might well ask, “If I need some things from a 9 and some things from a 2, shouldn’t I hire a 6?”
No.
Not unless you want everyone unhappy all the time.
If you need the zeal of a nine, hire a nine.
If you need the attention to detail of a two, hire a two.
If you need both, and this is important:
IF YOU NEED BOTH
split the tasks up.  Reallocate them so that the task for the two and the task for the nine go to different people.
A job description for a nine should not ask for methodical attention to detail across a wide range of projects.  That attention will be there when the nine is passionate about the projects and will fail everywhere else.
A job description for a two should not ask for passion and lots of brand new ideas and 22 hour days.  The two will do it from a sense of duty but hate it and get burnt out and eventually quit.
And if you need a six, hire a six.
Hire someone who is kind of intense some of the time but really doesn’t mind things being pretty moderate the rest of the time, if that’s what you need.
For example, a front desk person who can answer the phones consistently and be happy, makes occasional suggestions for useful systems improvements but doesn’t rock the boat too hard, and has enough spark to handle the media frenzy when the new product gets on Oprah, they might be a six or a four.
Once you know what you need, make sure it’s going to work with the person directly supervising the position.  Get them educated on the SIEF concepts so they can understand if you’re hiring an intensive or an expansive, and what they can reasonably expect.
If your organization is flexible, experiment with different benefits packages.
Here’s the bottom line:
a good fit is good for everyone.
It saves you money in training, attrition, turnover.
It saves you stress in worrying and wondering about your new hire, and in having to fire someone if it doesn’t work.  No decent leader enjoys firing people.
It saves them stress in trying to do a job they’re not really suited to.
It saves them stress in job insecurity.
They get a good job that they enjoy and do well.
You get an employee who stays and who has growth potential in the company.
You get your position filled, and it stays filled.
So you can focus on the work your company is really here to do.

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