Position analysis paves the way for better recruitment decisions


Position analysis refers to the description of a job vacancy. It aims to describe the key content, framework, and goals of the role as realistically and unambiguously as possible. For example, companies are often looking for “team players” in their job advertisements, which is understandable—but what does it actually mean?

From the perspective of both the hiring organization and the candidate, sustainable recruitment solutions require a genuine will and the ability to sit down and put into words what a “team player” means in this particular workplace community. If they walked through your office door in the morning, what tasks would they take on? Would they have a knack of envisioning strategy or managing current operational tasks? How would they establish contact with their colleagues, or with current or potential customers? Should they experiment, envision, and use creativity boldly or focus on routines and existing processes?

In a position analysis, priorities can be determined through the following questions:

  • What is characteristic of the business environment and the culture of the organization?
  • What should an individual achieve in a month/week/day?
  • How are the achievement of goals and success in work measured?
  • What is critical to know? What cannot be compromised?
  • What should a person’s sources of motivation and joy at work be so that they can cope with the job and are able to commit?
  • What are the most likely sources of stress?
  • What kind of support is available in terms of induction or problem situations, for example?
  • What kind of working method—decision-making style, for example—is beneficial in the task?
  • What types of cooperation or interaction are required?
  • What kind of data processing and problem-solving capabilities are required for the job?
  • What types of behavior/characteristics can lead to failure?

The time invested in the position analysis pays off in the later stages of recruitment. It enables a focus on the right aspects when preparing a job advertisement, when interviewing candidates, and when using recruitment support methods, of which psychological personnel assessment is probably the most common. Position analysis is the backbone of psychological personnel assessment. Careful position analysis helps select the most suitable methods for reliably studying the recruitment criteria, for example.

Don’t measure the blood sugar level with a thermometer

Reliable prediction of human behavior, individual ways of thinking, feeling and acting, and information processing styles is challenging. No single method or psychological test can provide an exhaustive assessment of the candidate’s suitability. A person can be seen as a house in which different methods are used to open different windows, which can bring a little light to each floor. 

When choosing assessment methods, it is important to ensure the predictive validity of the test or indicator used—that is, its ability to predict the exact criterion that has been chosen. In the same way as a thermometer cannot measure blood sugar, a personality test does not give an idea of reasoning abilities.

Research shows that performance in tasks is generally best predicted by cognitive abilities, which can be examined through various reasoning and problem-solving tasks. However, there is also a growing need for individuals in workplace communities who can both perform their tasks and contribute to the organizational culture, the workplace community, and stakeholder relations. If you want to find out more about aspects such as individual ways of interaction or cooperation, personality assessment methods are more appropriate.  

Realize the full potential of personnel assessments through good planning

In addition to selecting appropriate assessment methods, a successful position analysis enables better support for decision-making in recruitment.  In such a case, the party carrying out the assessment really knows what kind of characteristics, capabilities, and abilities they are expected to evaluate. The customer will also be provided with clearer conclusions that enable them to better determine their possibilities of proceeding based on the additional information gained from personnel assessments.

With the aid of a jointly created position analysis, the party conducting the assessment and the customer are on the same side of the table, focusing more on the realities, opportunities, and requirements of the work: does the candidate sufficiently meet the set criteria? If not, will they be able to strengthen their capabilities through internships, comprehensive orientation, or mentoring? Do they have the potential to commit to the job, perhaps to grow further within the organization, toward even more demanding tasks?

The results of psychological personnel assessments can provide excellent tools, even for the time after the recruitment decision, to target orientation, management, or support of work performance to better serve the individual in question.


Jenna Ryynänen
Personnel Consultant
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