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What is Job Shadowing?

Have you heard what Job Shadowing is? Job shadowing is the given name to the opportunity to observe or “shadow” someone doing their job. Job-shadowing is also close to informational interviewing, in which career-explores or job-seekers conduct short interviews with people in their prospective professions. It is used to provide an individual within a department the opportunity to work alongside more experienced colleagues so they can learn and develop within their role.

Job Shadowing provides the individual with a unique opportunity to find out how other staff work and what their roles involve. It develops a deeper knowledge and understanding of other roles and functions. But who is involved in Job Shadowing?

The Line Manager will agree to who would be the best host for the job shadowing and arrange the experience for them. If the shadowing is for their individual will expect to do some of the arrangement themselves as they will be the main beneficiary of this kind of shadowing activity.

The Host is the person who agrees to be shadowed. It involves some preparation and thought and is not about having someone follow you around for an agreed time span. The host needs to consider if the time requested is the best time for the shadowing to take place.

The Visitor/Guest needs to consider why they are doing the shadowing and what they hope to achieve. They also need to do some preparation which will involve working with the line manager or the host before the shadowing to set objectives for the sessions.

Here are the following three different types of job shadowing.

Observation – “fly on the wall”

This type of shadowing works best when a visitor guest is looking to gain a greater understanding of what the hosts’ job role actually consists. It is a typical representation of what the “host” individual does on a daily basis.

Regular Briefings – “Burst Interactions”

This works best when individuals work near to the host and the host can then tell them about the date and times of specific activities which are valuable for understanding the role of the host. It provides a short period of focused activity, rather than passive ongoing observation.

Hands-On – “Job sharing”

It is where the visitor/guest starts to undertake some of the tasks they have observed. It provides hands-on experience of the role whilst having the safety net of being supervised by the host.

Job shadowing can be useful in some ways. It helps to decide if the skills match the career field of interest. Since job shadowing is a short-term experience, it is a great way to decide whether to pursue a particular career before applying. It is an opportunity to observe an employee performing their daily work routine in their environment. It allows to explore specific careers and get a realistic picture of the tasks performed for the job.

Here are the following benefits of job shadowing.

  • Hands-on Experience:

    it is not only to observe how the task is completed but also experience hands-on task. It is beneficial to inspire or deter from pursuing a career path further.

  • Scholarship possibilities:

    They offer scholarship and persons who want scholarship/positions must go through an interview process and if selected it will go through an interview process as well.

  • Networking:

    In job shadowing, it is a great way to meet people in the profession that you are seeking.

Job Shadowing can be beneficial as long as you know what you are looking to get from it. It can be used as a testing method to identify possible careers.


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