What is the essential information to include in a job description?
If you want to hire the right person, you need a crystal-clear picture of the type of employee you’re looking for. Your job description has to go beyond just experience and education to include work and character traits that can impact a person’s ability to thrive in your organization.
The job description you create will serve multiple purposes.
- It forms the foundation of your recruitment ad and can entice the right people to apply
- It serves as your first opportunity to make a good impression of your company
- It helps focus your screening process, helping you choose only the most qualified candidates
- It lets you develop high-impact interview questions that can help you select the employees you need
Every hiring plan should be based on these features:
- The job – What will the person do? Take the time to spell out the specifics of the open job. Start with the job title it should be descriptive and conform to standards for your industry. If your company calls staff at a certain level in the hierarchy Executives whilst everyone else calls them Coordinators, then your advert is likely to be overlooked. Come up with a summary of four or five key duties that will be performed. Think this through thoroughly as a hazy or incorrect description will make it harder for you to match a candidate. If you're not sure what the job entails, then neither will the reader be.
- Candidate experience – What background is required to get the job done? Industry familiarity, practical knowledge, academic qualifications, professional certification – these may all be crucial to helping you screen candidates you recruit. Clarify ahead of time the specific experience your ideal candidate should have and set minimum criteria where possible. This criteria needs to be loose enough to encourage diverse applications, but strict enough to dissuade undesirable candidates.
- Candidate skill – What unique skills must the person possess? Look at the duties the person will perform and assess what skills are required to complete those tasks. A call centre representative, for example, will need good phone manners and may also need to be a good listener, whilst a call centre team manager may need leadership skills and project planning ability. Your list should include hard skills (what the person knows) and soft skills (how the person applies that knowledge).
- Working Style – How will the person get the job done? In a small business, the way a person works can be as important as what they do. They'll need to mesh with your corporate culture and the team you currently have in place. For instance, a person who thrives off the energy of others won’t succeed in a company where everyone works solo. Try to get across the general working methods so candidates know what they're letting themselves in for.
- Candidate temperament – What kind of personality succeeds in your organization? Taking working style a step further, consider the attitudes and manners you want in a job candidate. Your goal will be to find the type of person that is most productive in the work environment you've created and who can complement your current workforce. Develop a list of the character traits you most value, things like sense of humour, honesty, compassion, etc. You might not list these in your recruitment ad, but they can help you choose between candidates after more in-depth interviews and screening.
Getting your job description right is a vital part of attracting the right candidates and reducing the time it takes to screen and hire. When advertising a new vacancy don't be tempted to just dust off an old description and reuse it; go through the process every time to ensure you get the right person for the job.