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Learn how to write a really good job description

When deciding to recruit a new member of staff for your business, there are two key things you should do.  One is ask lots and lots of questions and the other is to understand what needs the person doing the role is going to meet.  You need to know why you’re recruiting and how your business is going to benefit before you can begin to find the right person for the role and the company.

What are the benefits of a really good job description?

  • Minimise the risk of employing somebody when you don’t need to
  • Minimise the risk of employing the wrong person
  • Understand where the new role fits in your business
  • Use the job description as a basis for performance reviews

Make a list

The best place to start is with a list of the tasks you want the person to be doing.  Think about the tasks that are currently getting done but perhaps not by the right person.  If you’re an owner/manager of your business, what tasks are you doing that really aren’t the best use of your time? Also, think about the tasks that aren’t currently getting done.  What are you unable to get to because you’re too busy? What things would help your business to grow if only you had someone to do them?

Analyse the role

Next, you need to make time to analyse the job – understand what it means to your business to have a person successfully doing the role.  Think of the job description as a chance to describe how you want the task done instead of just the task itself, e.g. you might want a receptionist to answer the phone but the job description can also say how you want it to be done, e.g. pick up the phone within 3 rings.

Even better, once you understand the benefits your business will gain from having someone do that task or take on that responsibility, you can further expand the job description to include that.  In the Receptionist example, you could then say “maintain our reputation for excellent customer service by answering incoming calls within 3 rings”.  That’s clear, it’s measurable and above all, it explains to the person doing the role why it’s important.

Group activities and responsibilities together

Outlining the key aspects of the role under specific headings is not only helpful to the candidate but will also help you to be clear about exactly what is involved in the role.

Be Specific

Whilst you want to avoid writing a long job description, you do need to make sure that you give enough detail to be specific about the role.  Be specific about what’s involved and you stand a better chance of getting suitable applications.

Include challenges and Opportunities

The job description is a chance for an honest reflection on the challenges and the opportunities of a role so be honest about the challenges of the role as well as the rewards.  Include the potential for career progression but only if there really is the opportunity to progress.

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