When writing a job description consider this first

A well-thought-out job description doesn’t just help you find and protect good employees, it helps protect your business from legal issues too.

When we’re writing job descriptions for our clients, there are a number of important insights we need to gain to ensure they’re fit for purpose and will succeed in attracting the right candidates.

Here are five to get you started:

1. What does the job require? 

It goes without saying that a job description needs to make clear what technical skills and experience a candidate needs, but many job descriptions don’t mention ‘soft skills’. Softer, more personal qualities, can make all the difference when it comes to finding someone culturally compatible and choosing between equally qualified candidates.

Developing a clear and unified definition of all the qualities required for the role can help your organisation define exactly what is needed. In addition, making the requirements clear on the job description makes preparing for the interview process so much easier.

2. What type of candidate is likely to be interested in this job? 

This is arguably the most important consideration. By understanding who is likely to be interested in the job, you can better understand what other opportunities might be open to potential candidates and, therefore, what their expectations are likely to be in terms of salary and benefits.

Armed with this understanding, the job description can be more accurately tailored to attract your ideal candidates, for example, in the details provided about the company culture, working patterns and benefits.

However, it is important to ensure the job description doesn’t accidentally use discriminating terminology or clauses. You can get more specific guidance on this on the acas website.

3. What are the future opportunities for progression?

One of the key things that many job seekers are interested in is the prospects the role has to offer for their career, so a job description which addresses this is essential. Including information about the organisation’s structure is also really helpful.

It’s vital to think long-term when writing a job description. 

4. How is the successful candidate’s performance going to be assessed?

It’s important to consider both the day to day and one-off tasks the role is likely to entail. A job description should contain sufficient detail, while giving scope for additional duties too. It should also make any line management responsibilities clear.

This detail will make it a valuable document for goal-setting, employee reviews and deciding on salary increases. It’ll also protect your organisation should it ever find itself in the unfortunate position of being faced with a legal dispute. However, the likelihood of such a dispute is reduced by having a detailed job description in the first place. 

5. How are we going to use the job description to recruit?

Knowing how you’re going to use the job description to attract candidates is vital too. The best way to decide what to put in a job description is to know your target audience, and that’s only possible when you have built relationships with some of them. Frequently, employers don’t have the capacity or network to build such relationships, and may resort to promoting the job via a direct advert.

While adverts have their place, they can limit the pool of candidates when used in isolation. A good recruitment partner on the other hand will be able to invest time in more proactive routes, and will have a great deal of insight into the job description that will work.

At Sitka, when we’re approached to fill a role, we will often know candidates who fit the bill already. This makes it much easier for us to put together a job description which does the organisation justice and is more likely to succeed in recruiting the right candidate. 

Writing job descriptions for organisations that work with us exclusively is just one of the great value-added services we offer to organisations in search of the best talent.

To find out how we could help your organisation, please contact us.