Recruitment Simplified – Part II

This is Part II in a new series launched through Morrison's People Solutions Monthly, a regular email providing valuable insight into human resources and other related topics. Click here if you'd like to sign up to receive Morrison's People Solutions Monthly email.

Identifying Job Requirements

As we continue to explore recruitment, and the best methods to simplify the process, this blog will help you to best identify the requirements of the position you are seeking to fill. The earlier blog highlighted three primary components necessary to perform a job successfully. These include:

  • KSA’s (knowledge, skills, and abilities)
  • Competencies
  • Cultural fit

In this blog we will look more closely at each of these components and explore the methods to identify these requirements prior to beginning a recruitment.


The most basic requirements necessary to perform a job successfully are often referred to as KSA’s (knowledge, skills, and abilities). Applying these basic requirements to the recruitment process is a critical step to the successful fulfillment of an open position. KSA’s are the easiest success factors to determine. If there is any uncertainty regarding the appropriate KSA’s to include in the requirements for a particular job, there are a few tools that one can use to help make that determination, including questionnaires, job logs, surveys, and interviews. Key people to reach out to in making that determination include people in the role, the roles manager, and their co-workers.

When working to identify KSA’s don’t get too bogged down in details regarding areas or skillsets that can easily be learned. However, always try to identify subtle but important factors that may be easy to overlook, such as a skill that an incumbent has developed over the years that is not on the job description and one that only the incumbent and the incumbent’s manager is aware of and may even be taken for granted.   

The identification of KSA’s are the foundation of the process of identifying job requirements. They are however only the first step in the process. Ending the process of identifying the job requirements at the KSA’s is like a home builder stopping when the foundation is complete. Just as a builder must go on and complete the structure, the hiring manager must move to the next layer of information necessary in determining the job requirements, the identification of competencies. 


Though they may seem similar, competencies are very different than KSA’s. Consider the following analogy from the jungle. A competency relates to a KSA in the same way that hunting instinct relates to a tiger’s claws. The claws, strength, and speed of the tiger provide it with the tools to bring down the prey, but they are useless without the instinct to hunt. A competency is related less to a technical ability and more to a particular set of behaviors that yield a positive outcome. A good sales person may have the ability to connect with people, know how to find prospects, and have the skills to close a deal, but if that sales person is incapable of maintaining healthy relationships and servicing the customer, they will not be able to keep customers.     

The best way to identify competencies for a position is to involve knowledgeable people in the organization and go through the exercise of asking the following questions. 

  1. What are some consistent behaviors that a successful person will demonstrate in the role?
    A few examples of behaviors could include networking, treating people with respect and dignity, following a set process, etc. 
  2. What personal and interpersonal qualities will a successful person have?
    A few examples of personal characteristics could include tenacity, leadership, attention to detail, etc. 
  3. What aspects of personality are important for the role?
    Examples could include introversion or tolerance for working in isolation, extroversion, or risk tolerance, etc.


Cultural is an often overlooked area when determining a roles requirements, yet cultural mismatch is thought to lead to more turnover than any other factor. Each organization has a collective culture. The collective culture is essentially the collective values of a company’s leaders and primary influencers. In addition to basic values, it also includes the way in which those values are lived out in various circumstances and contexts. A candidate who places a high value on the enjoyment of the work journey, and is accustomed to brainstorming meetings occurring around a pool table, will struggle to find meaning in an organization that values efficiently and individual achievement. An organization that understands its culture and recruits accordingly, will have much more success than one that recruits for talents and abilities only.

Next Steps

Recruiting is anything but easy, but following some established methods of identifying the critical success factors for a role can position your recruiting process for success. The next few articles in this series will identify other aspects of successful recruitment, including such topics as determining a person’s qualifications, assessing fit, and other critical components in the recruitment process.

About the Author

Shawn Miller is a principal at Morrison working primarily in our People Solutions practice.

To get in touch with Shawn, please find contact information for Morrison here.


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