The Unmistakable Benefits of Job Shadowing

Ready for a change in your career? If you are, but are hesitant to take the necessary steps, consider “trying it on” for a period of time. This is called “job shadowing” and it’s not just for apprentices and school-aged children anymore.

How Job Shadowing Works

Traditionally done by middle school, high school or college-aged students, job shadowing is also a viable way for established job seekers to determine whether to change jobs and/or careers. It acts as an expanded informational interview lasting anywhere from one hour, to a week or longer depending on what is mutually agreed upon.

Job shadowing only works when an organization allows a potential job candidate to truly experience the ins and outs of a job. It is imperative for the shadowee to be fully engaged as well.  If done correctly, job shadowing has unmistakable benefits to both parties.

Benefits for the Potential Employee

  • Experience the company culture
  • Gain insight into realistic job requirements/duties
  • Get a feel of the style of leadership (top down, collaborative, servant etc.)
  • Opportunity to “get a foot in the door”
  • Ability to observe the group dynamic if the position requires team participation and/or collaboration
  • Obtain a truly fruitful internship experience, in place of errand boy/girl roles

The key is for the shadower to ask a lot of questions and not be too passive during the engagement. Otherwise, the opportunity to gain useful insight into a job or unfamiliar career path will still be unknown after the job shadowing period ends.

It is also advisable for the person who is interested in shadowing to:

  • Research and identify companies that meet specific career aspirations
  • Contact companies where you have a contact or can be introduced to a contact by a mutual acquaintance
  • Be honest about your intentions before shadowing one of their employees
  • Set clear guidelines for the duration and expectations regarding insight you hope to gain during the process

Benefits for the Employer

  • Opportunity to determine how the potential candidate interacts within the company culture
  • Ability to observe how the potential employee problem-solves and works with others currently working within the organization
  • Enables an organization to thoroughly onboard a new employee by establishing a mentor/mentee relationship at the beginning of employment
  • Can be leveraged as on-the-job training for employees moving into a new role within the organization

Overall, job shadowing can be thought of as a “try before you buy” experience. Hiring someone that was not thoroughly vetted for a position is a losing proposition for the potential employee AND employer. Job shadowing provides much needed insight to ensure the position fits the employee and the employee fits the company.

SACS Consulting Knows HR

Make sure your organization is mitigating risk with sound HR policies and procedures to improve workplace culture, help prevent disagreements and make certain everyone is treated equally. Contact SACS Consulting & Investigative Services to find out how we can help put you back in control of Human Resources!