Writing a good job description, or job specification, is not hard. But it does require a little time and focus. A poor job spec may be too brief or full of irrelevant information, or tell you nothing about the ‘real’ vacancy that needs to be filled.
There are seven main areas a job specification needs to cover, to make it a useful recruitment tool:
- The organisation
- The team
- The role itself
- How the role will develop
- Personal qualities required
- The remuneration
- Process & timescales
The size, history and key markets of the organisation are what candidates will expect to see. The corporate aims will also need to be detailed here. Strong candidates will want to know what the organisation is aiming for so they can assess whether it is a goal that excites them, and one they can help strive towards.
How many people are in the team? How is it structured? How does the function fit into the organisation as a whole? Who are the key people the role holder will need to relate to? Is there a specific culture associated with the team, independent from the rest of the firm? This is where more detail around cultural fit will naturally sit.
The role itself
What is the reason for the vacancy? What are the main duties? What is the purpose of the role? What skills will be needed to do it? What training could be provided to help do it? What background would help? What previous achievements would be considered useful and which vital?
How the role will develop
How will the role look in a couple of years time? Where might it lead? What opportunities for progression are there? Again, strong candidates will be looking for a job spec which illustrates a consideration of the future, if they are being expected to invest their own in the organisation.
Personal qualities required
What kind of person does the role require? There is always a danger here that employers specify the qualities of someone they like or is like them, rather than someone who is necessarily best for the role. Most teams benefit from a breadth of personality profile, rather than recruiting people like themselves. Be sure to shape the personal attributes to the role and not just the team or organisational culture.
Full benefits package needs to be detailed. Sometimes the smallest of things can tip a candidate in favour of a particular job.
Process & timescales
When will the interviews be happening? Who will be involved? How many stages are there?
This list is not exhaustive but adhering to the points detailed above should make for a solid and professional job specification.