Writing a Job Description

  • July 06, 2017

Taking the time to put together an effective Job Description and Person Specification can prove invaluable in attracting and retaining employees.
The purpose of a Job Description is to provide a clear definition of a role and an accurate representation of its accountabilities. This will give everyone involved in the process a clear picture of business need and the type of candidate you want to recruit. It will also prove to be a useful tool for both managers and employees when conducting appraisals and performance reviews.

Key Aspects to include:

• Job Title
• Location – including any need for additional travel
• Hours to be worked.
• Where the role sits within the business – department/ who they report to and details of any direct reports.
• Key areas of responsibility – a clear overview of the primary objectives of the role.
• Other duties.

The Person Specification:

It is also important to include a concise person specification, outlining requirements for the role. This will be most effective when shortlisting applications and benchmarking candidates.
• Experience – any precise experience (if any) required to be considered for the role and at what level.
• Education – details of any specific courses or qualifications needed.
• Personal Qualities – Focusing on characteristic or traits that would enable to role to be performed most effectively.
Be realistic! Rather than write a long ‘wish list’ detailing your perfect candidate, which could dramatically reduce interest in the role, it is more effective to split this into essential and desirable criteria.
Other ‘dos’ and don’ts’:
• Don’t be ambiguous – be as clear as possible about what the role will involve. Being too vague could lead to problems occurring once an employee has started work and result in a candidate leaving prematurely.
• Avoid using ‘in house’ terminology. Stick to well recognised requirements to appeal to the widest possible audience.
• Discriminatory language - Although frequently inadvertent, the use of certain words and phrases in a job description can be construed as discriminatory and limit the diverse applicant group that organisations strive for. Be sure to check out the legal requirements on the Business Link Website.
• Review - As businesses evolve it is inevitable that roles will change. With this in mind, it is crucial that Job Descriptions are reviewed regularly, in order to keep them relevant, accurate and up to date.