Writing a Proper Job Description

19 November 2012 Katherine Stott

Writing a proper job description is an imperative step to take to ensure you attract the right candidates to your job – the skilled professionals who will tick all the boxes on your requirements list.

The job description is an all-encompassing image of the job offered; a snapshot of what’s required. It’s the make or break when it comes to applicants wanting to apply and the difference between reeling in the right candidates for the job or those who’re just taking a chance. You want to cover all aspects in summary, but with enough detail to convey exactly what you’re looking for.

The most common areas that need to be covered are:
• Job Title
• Department or person reporting to
• General overview of the role
• Key areas of responsibility
• Necessary skills and qualifications
• Terms of employment, remuneration etc

Putting the Job Description into a Nutshell

That’s pretty much what you need to do. You’re summarizing a person’s (almost) entire waking hour’s worth of existence onto one page… it’s quite a feat to undertake! Try and put yourselves into the shoes of the person you want to hire. Who do you want that person to be? What tasks do they need to undertake? How should their day unfold as they work through each of their responsibilities? Start with a bulleted list of tasks and expand on each point as you go to make sure you’ve got every single aspect covered.

Writing the Perfect Job Title

Your title should be a precise summary of exactly what the job entails. There are discrepancies between certain roles and areas where two skill-sets can crossover to form one job; ensure that you cover this in the title. This is the juice that will spark the initial interest, so make it count! Instead of posting a job opening for a “Copywriter” try something different – “Digital Copywriter with Super Writing Powers”. Okay, that might be a tad on the flamboyant side, but it certainly attracts attention!

Tone of Voice

Personality traits are also a defining factor when hiring staff and can be brought forward using a simple component called tone of voice. If you want someone fun and bubbly, step up the lingo to make it more attractive to people of that nature. If it’s a more formal and professional role, then the tone must be too.

A Few Side Notes

One important thing to add is a clause that leaves you relatively “open” to add reasonable tasks to the employee’s agenda, without them confronting you saying it wasn’t originally agreed upon or part of their job description. Make sure you’ve got all your bases covered and everyone will benefit from your planning proficiency.

Once you’ve got all the job elements in place, summarize it down to its most simple form, ensuring you’ve elaborated on all the above bulleted points, and voila. You have a job description.

Tip: if you’re in doubt – get someone completely unrelated to the job or company to read it through and see if they get a fully comprehensive view of what’s expected from the role. If not, see where you can add more meat and where you can take away some of the fluff.

Image courtesy of: businessknowhow.com

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