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Tips on writing a job description

How do you go about creating an effective job description to attract the right kind of talent? 

Many of us start with getting into the detail very early on in a job description, as opposed to focusing on the outcomes required once the job holder is in post. 

In other words, in six months’ time, what is it that the individual needs to have achieved and how will these achievements be measured?  Before even thinking about putting a description together, it is worth giving this some thought.

Studies have shown that writing a strong job description can actually attract a higher quality pool of applicants in the first place, so getting it right in the first place can save everyone a lot of time in the long run.

Here are a few suggestions we would always recommend considering before you commit that job description to paper…

Proofread – Seems really obvious, right?  It goes without saying that if you want to attract applicants with an eye for detail you need to start by demonstrating it as an Organisation!

Provide an Overview of the Organisation – It is really important to provide a sense of who you are as an Organisation and why an individual would want to work for you.  For example:

  • What do you do that sets you apart from your competitors?
  • Where does the job role sit within the company and who they will report to within this structure?
  • Where is the role located and how much travel, if any, is required. 

Keep it concise, honest and the title recognisable - List perhaps 5-10 key responsibilities, erring again on the side of concise. 

Consider indicating how often the responsibilities will need to be performed, perhaps demonstrating time as a percentage per task. 

When it comes to skills and qualifications, it is always nice to separate out the mandatory requirements from those that are preferred, remembering that no-one is truly an ‘expert’ at everything!

Include salary information – It will save everyone a lot of time if you include salary information.  You are very likely to have a finite budget so at least include a salary bracket.  It doesn’t benefit you or the potential candidate to go through several rounds of interviews before discovering the salary is simply not an option for your candidate.  Benefits details could be briefly summarised here too if applicable.

Contact information – Again, it sounds obvious but it does happen.  Don’t leave your candidate sold on your brilliantly tantalising job description but with nowhere to go to apply…

Writing style – It’s always worth considering the style of your job description, depending on whether you’re trying to attract a marketeer or a software developer. 

Don’t be vague!  Aim to be concise and honest.  Try to emulate your company feel whether that be conversational in tone or far more formal.  In either case, it’s never a great idea to go overboard with the corporate jargon…

Once you have your shiny new job description completed, it’s probably also worth starting to think about the following next steps;

  • How much time is needed for on-boarding?
  • Do they have the right tools to do the job?
  • Who has previously been really successful in the role and what was it that made them successful?
  • In reverse, why have people struggled with this role in the past and what lessons can be learnt?

To discover more tips about writing job descriptions and recruiting the ideal candidate, please call us on 01295 675506 for a friendly no obligation chat.

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