Job shadowing is a job or career learning condition whereby an individual learns first-hand what a particular job entails by following one who is knowledgeable in that job or career and currently working in that capacity. This activity may last for a few days or even several months. It is often used by students who are in the process of choosing a career path and involves volunteering for non-paid service in order to have the opportunity of acquiring the job or career experience.
Purpose of Job Shadowing
As stated above, job shadowing is a way of bridging the time-gap of experience by creating opportunities for first-hand or on-the-job learning. It is a way for prospective candidates to learn new aspects of specific jobs such as core required competences, skills as well as knowledge about specific careers or an organization. Job shadowing helps to boost the synergy of organizations by facilitating effective working relationships that consolidate the exchange of ideas, networking, opportunity exploration, feedback mechanisms and collaborative efforts between departments in an organization. It is popular as intervention programmes among companies or businesses for the following purposes:
- New job training: If an employee is assigned to a new job he or she may be attached to the person currently doing that job in order to learn first-hand what that job requires.
- Career development: There are many possible career paths available in an organization. Job shadowing can assist people in making the right choice.
- Leadership development: The whole essence of job shadowing is that expertise can be transmitted from those who already possess it to the next set of leaders.
Forms of Job Shadowing
Job shadowing may be organized officially by organizations for the purposes listed above. In this case, all parties to the setup are aware and there is a fixed period of time for it and probably with well-defined or stated objectives. Another form of job shadowing is called cyber shadowing. In the case of cyber shadowing, a usually unsuspecting professional is shadowed as he or she works by someone who wants to gain from his or her professional expertise but surreptitiously. This is done by the use of IT remote administration software. This software is used to view their computer monitor and follow their progress so as to learn how they do their work. This form of job shadowing has been used to cunningly gather information from experts without having to meet such obligations such as contracting and IP issues that would ordinarily have been necessary if they had followed normal processes.