Background: I run the IT department of a very large church and large private school. There are 4 full time and 1 part time people in my group and it has been this way, with the same people in their current roles, for about 5 years. A new position was created for me and I was promoted into my position over my peers about 1 year ago. We have been very stretched with a series of major projects over the past 18 months and our projects will continue for the next 6 to 12 months. Because of this, I have gained approval to add a person to our department.

My two questions are:
1) What are your recommendations or considerations for dividing up the work to create a new position?

2) How do you "interview" people when you don't have a job opening or a job description ready for the new position? M & M referred to having a group of people that you've met with and know, and implied interviewed, that you can call in when the job opening is ready. There are several people I know that I'd like to chat with but I'm not sure what that would look like.


Mark's picture
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Cool. I'll let others chime in first.


gilz's picture

Hi Patti,

First, I would try to write up the current composition of the team, and see what skills I'm missing, or there's a shortage of. (writing things up in some way makes me think in an organized manner).

Then, fighting the urge to move forward by myself, at this point I'll ask the team on ways for improvement in the current situation, including shifting tasks and positions. Although you're stretched, and the chance of putting up with the current make-up with all the tasks is low, there's a chance the feedback might change the organization you envisioned. Go back and update the position's requirements.

With this info, you can start looking for people within your network, as in: I know this guy who can actually do this. And remember to set the bar high. :wink:

It's very important for you to know how to answer the question "what will my responsibilities be?" before the interviewee asks. That's where the preparation comes in.

Gil Zilberfeld

sholden's picture
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One suggestion on #1 - Is to mention new job in your 1on1s and see what input you get from your team. A previous podcast talked about this approach when someone leaves the team and you challenge the team to see if you should really replace the person.

I used the form tool (page 4) from that podcast recently and it was very interesting:

Basically the actual tasks that the person was working on was absorbed by the more senior members of the team and a junior person was added to pick up the shifted work where there was a good fit.

- Steve

jhack's picture

A few ideas:

- The upcoming projects probably determine what you need from the group. Gil's suggestion of a skills gap analysis is a good start.

- Steve's advice to backfill your existing team is good. You can coach your current staff, delegate project leadership, and improve overall performance (The Juggling Koan podcast).

- Don't interview until you've got a job description that defines role and responsibilities (doesn't have to be super formal, but should assist you in your thinking). You have to know what skills and aptitudes are required, and answer the candidate's questions, too. (also be prepared to talk about what happens when these projects all end in 12 months - maybe you should hire a contractor/consultant?)

- Let your community know you're looking. The church bulletin, for example, could alert a wide network to your needs, and potentially bring in someone who'd really like to be part of what you're building.

- If you want to talk to folks in your network before you fully understand the position yourself, I'd say go for it. Be honest, describe your process, and ask them if they'd be interested in pursuing the conversation at the next level.

Let us know how it turns out!

PattiBarcroft's picture


...(also be prepared to talk about what happens when these projects all end in 12 months - maybe you should hire a contractor/consultant?)[/quote]

Thanks to jhack, sholden, gilz and Mark.

I should have mentioned that we have had a very regular presence of a contractor for the past two+ years and I have brought in one or two others as projects have dictated over the past year. I think this has helped upper management realize we actually do need more help. We are working to update job descriptions and I've asked the guys to identify elements of the work they are jazzed about. It is definitely a coaching opportunity.

I have been reviewing, again, many of the podcasts to get the pointers to help navigate these waters. So Steve - thanks for the link. I remembered the cast but was going to need to wander through a few to find the form you mentioned. Now I can go straight to the cast and the form.

Thanks for sharing.


juliahhavener's picture
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I think you've already had some great advice. I do think you need to figure out what qualities you need most before you can effectively hire someone to fill that space. By taking your team into the process, you can ensure their backing in the process and ensure you're really putting the right person in that position to be successful.

I would try to bring it down to qualifications and qualities that are ideal. Then you can leverage that network to bring in the perfect person for the job - without guessing once they're there what to do with them!

I wouldn't want to hire without a job description. I also wouldn't want to BE hired without a job description (how do I know I can succeed unless I know what I'm getting myself into). So take the information gathered and create one (I believe the annual review set has an good walk through of how to do this based on what you do/what you should be doing/what you want this new person to do).

Good luck in this!