How to Create the Ultimate Job Description
Written by Geoff Newman on 01/04/2014
This is an extract from our full guide ‘Create an Effective Job or Person Specification for Better Recruitment’.
Making the perfect match isn’t down to luck. It’s due to the recruiter’s ability to describe what the job entails and the type of person required to carry out the role effectively. The more accurate the job description and person specification is, the closer the match between the job and jobholder.
Write an accurate job description
A job description needs to contain certain specific information such as:
- The job title
- Who to report to
- If the job is permanent or temporary, full time or part time
- Summary of purpose and aims of the role
- Duties and responsibilities summarised
- Work patterns and conditions
Job descriptions also serve a number of other purposes:
- You can assess the level of support the employee may require
- Determine the training and developmental needs of the employee
- Identify strengths and weaknesses as part of their ongoing appraisal process
- Evaluate performance by providing an objective outline of duties and responsibilities
Outlining their duties and responsibilities is the section that should contain the most thought. Ensure that each expectation links to a specific outcome.
Construct a detailed person specification
When writing a person specification outline qualities that the ideal candidate should possess. This should also include essential educational qualifications, experience, knowledge and skills.
Here are some important tips to consider when compiling a person specification:
- Be specific about the level of knowledge needed – are particular levels of literacy or numeracy required to do the job?
- Be vigilant when specifying qualifications – you must be able to justify the need for them. For example, could you justify reasons for specifying three A levels rather than two?
- Don’t include time-related requirements in experience – this can be discriminatory to younger candidates.
- Consider what skills and experience can be gained via different avenues such as voluntary work
- Include transferable skills that could be used in one environment and still could be valuable elsewhere
Now go through and identify everything that can be treated as non-essential and more into the desirable section. Everything else should fit into an essential section. You also need to make sure your expectations are realistic to ensure you find the right employee. You can read more about this from our guide ‘Ensure your Recruitment is Realistic’.