Create Effective Job Descriptions
Some employers run into difficulty by producing lazy or ill-thought-through job descriptions when hiring. If your job description is vague, then the pool of candidates under consideration will be vague too. If it is specific and well-targeted, then your candidates will be. Here are our tips:
To really understand the scope of a job, it helps to have thoroughly defined it in writing. Your chances of recruiting top talent will improve dramatically if the position you want filled is carefully defined. Also, it says something positive to candidates about your organisation if you have taken the time and effort to craft an excellent job description.
Remember that job descriptions are not throw-away items, to be used at the hiring stage and never referred to again. They have an on-going purpose throughout the employment lifecycle, so it pays to take the time to get them right. The three main purposes of the job description are:
1. Candidate Attraction.
To describe the role and specify the required track record of the desired person with the aim of attracting the right person for the role, either internally or externally.
2. Role Definition.
To be a point of reference for the individual performing the role, spelling out their responsibilities and required level of performance – especially at appraisal time or when a promotion is being considered.
3. Management Reference.
Especially for new managers, job descriptions are vital to understand the scope and responsibility, not only of their own role, but the roles of the staff they oversee.
Crafting The Job Description
A comprehensive job description will comprise the following elements:
- Title of the job
- Where the role sits within the team, department and wider business
- Who the role reports to and other key interactions
- Key areas of responsibility and the deliverables expected
- Short, medium and long-term objectives
- Scope for progression and promotion
- Required education and training
- Soft skills and personality traits necessary to excel
- Location and travel requirements
- Remuneration range and benefits available
- Convey the organisation's culture and identity
Five Mistakes To Avoid When Creating An Effective Job Description
1. Using internal jargon.
For instance, your CRM database may be known company-wide as 'Knowledge-Bank', but requiring 'Knowledge-Bank implementation proficiency' on a job description will mean little to external candidates. Stick to well-recognised terms and requirements to appeal to the widest possible audience.
2. Not involving all stakeholders.
The most accurate specifications are produced with the involvement of several different business areas. When defining or refining what a role entails, do so with the input of HR, line management and employees in a similar function.
3. Being unrealistic.
A job description should be an accurate representation of the track record required to perform the role, not an impossible wish list of every skill that may come in useful.
4. Using discriminatory language.
Although frequently inadvertent, the use of certain words and phrases in a job description can be construed as discriminatory and limit the diverse applicant group that organisations strive for.
5. Not regularly reviewing.
Organisations are constantly evolving, so for job descriptions to reflect changing requirements they should be reviewed, ideally annually, and amended as appropriate.
Taking the time to craft an accurate job description can be invaluable to the on-going attraction, hiring and retention of employees.