How to write a job description that works
To recruit successfully for a job it is important to put some time into considering what skills and experience are actually needed and then, commit it to paper. You have a much better chance of attracting the best talent if there is a well thought-out job and personal specification for the role.
Whether it is a new role you are recruiting for or one that has already been held within the business, start with a review of any existing job descriptions, making sure they are up to date. Job descriptions can change through experience and the needs of the business, so don’t use a generic description and assume it is still correct. The time invested now will save you much more in the recruitment process.
By taking the time to define who it is you want to hire you will be creating a benchmark for the type of candidates that apply and that are potentially interviewed.
The purpose of a job description
Defining the job role – If you clearly define what is expected from the start, your employee will have a point of reference for their responsibilities and a set level of deliverables which can be referred to throughout the employment cycle for reviews and appraisals and any potential promotions.
Candidate attraction – A great job advert will attract both internal and external applications through a clear description of exactly what the role entails and will make cross referencing against applications and CVs more efficient and a lot less time consuming.
Internal reference/employee files – Roles will grow and evolve with your business, team structures are subject to change and will adjust over time. Use previous job descriptions to gain insight into the scope and level of responsibility for the roles you are recruiting for and then use this to adapt or analyse your future needs for other roles.
How to write an effective job description
An effective job description will include the following:
• Job title
• Who the role reports to
• Key areas and levels of responsibility
• Skills needed
• Person specification
• Education/professional qualifications
• Technology experience
• Objectives/deliverables expected
• Progression and promotion opportunities
• Location and travel requirements
• Remuneration range
• Benefits available
• Company description including values and culture.
These are necessities for the candidate to get all the information they need to assess if the job is right for them before applying, but don’t forget about your personality, as a company and as a team. A job description is a great way to use your voice and hint towards your culture and values, this allows potential candidates to imagine themselves working at your company and feel excited.
Things to consider:
Internal job role terminology: You may well know your job role is called ‘B.Analyst’ but this will not necessarily mean anything to people outside of your company. Use widely accepted terms and vocabulary to make sure you don’t alienate potential candidates.
Get approval before recruiting: It can be hugely frustrating for all concerned when you have gone through the recruitment process and identified the right candidate only to find out you cannot get sign-off for the role.
Share with everyone concerned: Make sure all parties involved in the recruitment process i.e. HR, Team leaders and employees currently in the role are in agreement that the description is accurate and agreed.
Be realistic: Make sure your job description isn’t an exhaustive list of unrealistic skills and experience, everyone has slightly different strengths and weaknesses so a bit of leeway is important. It should be more of an accurate record of what is acceptable for the role.
Be legal: Using derogatory or discriminatory language in a job description be it inadvertently or otherwise through the use of words or phrases could result in a discrimination claim even before the applicant has progressed to interview and could also inhibit your company diversity.
If you need any help with your next vacancy, our consultants would be delighted to support you with your recruitment process. Please contact us on 01202 233777 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.