How to write a great job description

Writing a great job specification requires a little thought, because to attract great candidates you need to know what the perfect candidate looks like. A job specification should do the same job as a CV: catch the eye of great candidates and persuade them that your company – and specifically this role – is for them.

A job specification should cover seven main areas:

1. The organisation
Candidates will want to see the size, history and key markets of the organisation as well as the corporate aims. Strong candidates will want to know what the organisation is aiming for so they can assess whether this is a goal they can and want to be involved with.

2. The team
How big is the team? How does it fit into the organisation? Which people will the candidate need to relate to? Is there a specific culture associated with the team? Is this different to the culture in the firm as a whole?

3. The role
Why is there a vacancy? What will the candidate’s main responsibilities be? What is the purpose of the role? Is there a particular skillset required? What training will be available? What background would be most advantageous?

4. How the role will develop
Remember to tell candidates what will the role look in a year or two years’ time – what opportunities for progression are there? Is there a defined career path? Again, strong candidates will look for specifications which consider the future.

5. Necessary personal qualities
What sort of person is required? Be careful here not to merely specify your own qualities or the qualities of someone you like, but what is best for the role. Remember, teams usually benefit from a mix of personalities.

6. Remuneration
The full benefits package should be included. Sometimes the smallest extra can persuade a candidate to accept a particular job.

7. Process and timescales
When will interviews take place? Who will be involved? How many interview or other stages are there?

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