Having been in recruitment for well over 20 years we’ve seen an array of job descriptions and person specifications. Some of them really don’t tell you anything about the job or the type of person you’re looking for which can make the whole recruitment process a little tougher! Fortunately, most of the time we already have a good understanding of what you’ll be looking for.
However, it’s still a critical document, particularly if you’re going to interview against it. So, here are our top tips for putting the best document together.
1. Give the reader a really good description of the company. Who you are, what you do, what are your products, services? Who uses them? How big is the company? Global or UK only? This all helps set some context to what you are looking for.
2. Talk about the objectives of the role. Go from strategic to tactical – what’s the big picture that you want them to achieve and then how do you see them doing it? This helps set the expectations in terms of what you’re going to need the successful person to be capable of.
3. Here we’d expect there to be a list of requirements. It naturally follows from the objectives of the role that, in order to achieve those objectives, you’ll need a list of skills and experiences that need to be considered real strengths of the candidates.
4. Consider the markets where you’d consider that someone may have worked that could work in your business. Very often candidates will come from other sectors but are still more than capable of achieving your objectives in your business.
5. You may want to list specific qualifications that you see as being essential or desirable but be aware that by tagging them as essential, you may well rule out people who have many of the other skills and experience, some of which will be more important than the actual qualification. Remember it’s generally a candidate short market.
6. Finally talk about the employer proposition. What is it about your business that’s truly great, unique or interesting? Why would someone leave their current employment to come and work for you? What do you need to avoid?
Whilst most job descriptions and person specifications we see are generally very good, we do see some that leave us somewhat confused. So, to help you find the best people you may want to avoid the following.
1. Matrices – overly complicated grids that leave your head spinning
2. Page after page of text
3. Generic specifications that talk too much about the need to be hard working, detail conscious, organised and committed – we’ll expect all of these from any candidate
4. Obscure acronyms that no-one other than in your own business will understand
5. Long lists of ‘must have’ qualifications or experiences that actually aren’t that important
6. Number of years experience – this is actually against the law and often gets companies advertising jobs in hot HR water!
7. Avoid wacky job titles – make things easy to find on the internet
Hopefully this short article has helped debunk the myths of a great job description and that you now find your perfect hires even quicker.
For our advice on how the perfect recruitment process should work, click here.
For our advice on interviewing click here.