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Help Wanted in the White House: The Job Description

As the media has inundated people with information on both major party candidates for president, there’s been a lot of talk of who is most “qualified” to run the United States of America and who is most “qualified” to be commander in chief. It got me thinking: I am a human resources professional, I can figure this out!

Over the past decade I’ve been involved in the process of hiring all types of positions, from landscapers to clergy, administrative assistants to executives. Each vacancy is important. Each job is filled because there is a need for certain duties to be accomplished to help the organization continue to be successful at meeting its mission.

I love the recruitment process, exploring the different backgrounds and experiences of candidates and trying to find that perfect fit for the position we are trying to fill. It’s part science (do qualifications on paper match what’s in the job description), part art (will this person integrate successfully into an already established team made up of people from diverse backgrounds, positions, learning and communication styles, and personalities).

I also see recruiting as a huge honor and responsibility. Many people spend more time at work than at home. Local businesses and organizations provide services to communities and wages to citizens so they can provide for their families, not to mention gain dignity for a hard day’s work. But in the end, the most important thing is finding the individual who is most qualified for the job, and whose presence will benefit the team and organization the most.

The first thing I do when I am made aware of a vacancy is conduct a job analysis with the hiring manager to update the current job description. This involves talking to whoever is currently in the position about what they actually do on a daily basis, and figuring out if new responsibilities will be added when a new employee takes over.  It’s also important to establish the overall purpose for the position. What role does this position play in meeting the mission of the organization?

Then based on the responsibilities, level of oversight needed, how much independent judgment is required in the position, and what other positions this one will be interacting with the most, we determine what are the basic qualifications for the position, including education and experience. It’s also helpful to look at the regional job market to see what experience other organizations are requiring for similar positions.

A job analysis also requires determining what technical/hard skills and people/soft skills the individual will need to have to be successful in the position. Things to consider include the amount of interaction with clients, other employees, leadership, boards and committees, the public, as well as what does a candidate absolutely need to have knowledge of before starting the position and what is the company willing to train them on to be successful, if need be. Does the organization have the time to train a new person on certain things, or do they want someone who can be “up and running” in a short period of time? The anticipated learning curve is an important thing to consider.

So… given the amount of people throwing around the word “unqualified” during the presidential race, I decided to look at the actual requirements of the President of the United States and put together a job description to help guide the process of comparing the candidates and their actual qualifications.

We, the American people, are essentially the hiring committee. We need to make a well informed decision in the best interest of the organization, the United States of America. As you watch the debates, which begin tonight, think about the qualifications below and whether or not the candidates can successfully fulfill the essential functions required for success in this position.


Job Title: President of the United States of America 

Purpose of Position: As stated in the Constitution of the United States, the president holds executive power for the nation and shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the states, when called into the actual service of the United States.

Classification: Full-time Exempt

Office Location: White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.

Start Date: January 20th of the year following election

Term: Each term is 4 years. Cannot be elected for more than two terms. If the president has served more than two years in one term, and one full term, cannot be elected a second time.

Annual Salary: $400,000 salary with $50,000 annual expense account and $100,000 non-taxable travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment.  Room and board.

Job Responsibilities:

1.              Legislative Role

a.   Reviews all laws passed by congress and makes decision sign the bill into law; or veto the law and return it back to Congress for revision; or take no action in which after 10 days if the Congress is convened it automatically becomes law, but if Congress is adjourned it does not become law (i.e. pocket veto)

2.              Executive Powers

a.     Acts as Commander in Chief

i.               Responsible for directing and disposing the U.S. Military (in conjunction with congress who has the authority to declare war)

ii.              Authority to send troops into combat, as well as the power to decide whether to use nuclear weapons

iii.            Responsible for protecting Americans abroad and foreign nationals in the United States

b.     Directs US Foreign Policy through the Departments of State and the Department of Defense

c.     Directs US Domestic Policy and works with congress to pass legislation to administer those policies

d.     Negotiates treaties with nations

e.     Chief executive of executive branch of federal government, which includes establishing a federal budget and oversight of 4 million executive branch employees, including military personnel.

f.      Ensures laws are faithfully executed

g.     Make appointments, including cabinet members, executive branch members, ambassadors, federal and supreme court justices, and other federal officers

h.     Sign executive orders in line with the constitution

i.      Provide State of the Union address annually to Congress

j.      Grant pardons

3.              Engages in Ceremonial traditions, some established by previous presidents, as desired

Required Qualifications

1.              Must be natural-born citizen of the United States of America

2.              Must be at-least 35 years old

3.              Must be a resident of the United States of America for at least 14 years

4.              Must win at least 270 electoral votes

Ineligible to hold office if any of the following apply:

1.              If previously impeached, Senate has option to disqualify convicted individuals from holding federal office, including president.

2.              If previously held office and then engaged in insurrection, rebellion or treason. 2/3 of each house of Congress can override this limitation.

3.              If previously served two terms

Required Competencies

1.         Leadership

2.         Strategic Thinking

3.         Business Acumen

4.         Problem Solving/Analysis

5.         Decision Making

6.         Performance Management

7.         Results Driven

8.         Communication Proficiency

9.         Financial Management

10.       Emotional Intelligence

11.        Cultural Awareness

Essential Functions

1.              Clear vision for the nation with a realistic plan to implement the vision

2.              Commitment to diversity and inclusion and able to work with a diverse individuals from a variety of different backgrounds including different ideologies

3.              Ability to stay strong despite adversity

4.              Ability to make difficult decisions on a moment’s notice in a high-paced, high-stress environment.

5.              Emotionally intelligent and able to anticipate and respond to the needs of others

6.              Ability to act as a servant leader and delegate appropriately

7.              Change agent

8.              Strong self-control

9.              Confident yet able to learn from his/her mistakes

10.           Open to seek different viewpoints

11.           Strong pulse on the nation and the sentiment of the American people

12.           Strong morals and ethics

13.           Effectively communicates

14.           Inspires others to action

15.           Effective stress-management

16.           Seeks advice from advisors/subject matter-experts

17.           Clear understanding of policy, and ability to communicate policy to others, including the American public, to gain support

18.           Desire to and ability to work well with others, including those with different view points, and negotiate effectively for the good of the country

19.           Able to establish and build trust

20.           Support effective conflict resolution

21.           Must be able to travel extensively nationally and internationally, including during inclement weather.

22.           This is a full-time position, and general hours of work and days are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A bed will be provided for adequate rest when possible.

23.           Other duties as needed.

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk or hear. The employee frequently is required to stand; walk; use hands to finger, handle or feel; and reach with hands and arms.

ADA Statement: Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

EEO Statement: The Federal Government is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

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