7 steps to nailing a Job description for success
Successful recruiters excel at matching candidates to jobs. To do this effectively, a proper job description is vital as it will also contain your “sales” information to prospective candidates. The essential thing is to be able to describe the job as accurately as possible whilst also gaining benefits for the potential employee. Following are 7 steps to nailing a job description:
- Always take a permanent job description in person. If the client is too busy to see you in person, explain that time invested now will save a lot of potential heartache!
- If dealing with HR or any other intermediary other than the direct manager/team leader, insist on speaking to the direct report as well. Explain that whilst there is a defined company culture, each department also has their own subculture, which you need to know to provide not only the right skill set, but also the right person for a culture match.
- Ask also to speak to incumbent. More often than not, the incumbent doing the job will tell you different things about the job. If the client says, I do not want the new person to be like the old person, explain that you will check back if there are any discrepancies in duties described. Make the client aware there is a marked difference between a job description and a person specification.
- Now to the job description itself: Always ask what the person actually does. Do not assume you know from their job title. Different companies use job titles differently. Different companies organise the same departments differently. What the person does constitutes their duties. So if you are dealing with an executive assistant, ask what they do, then break the duties down to percentages of their time. So e.g. the EA might diarise, organise travel, supervise junior staff, organise functions & meetings, do correspondence etc. If the company provides you with a written job description, you can use that as a starting point for understanding duties broken down to daily, weekly or monthly duties.
- Ask the client what type of person they want i.e. the person specification. If your company does benchmarking via psychometric tests then suggest these to sell more and to really nail the placement.
- (Now comes the true consulting part as opposed to the mere job filling part: Discuss with clients which 3-5 duties are the key pay off activities for that particular role. Compare to duties actually described to see if they match up. If not, then you need to consult to client on what they actually want out of that role. Status quo or something bigger and better!
- Ask the client why someone would want to work for their company or for them! This question will elicit company benefits for you to use when discussing position with potential candidates for your shortlist!
Now you have all the information, you need: Job description and person specification from 2-3 people, which just about gives you a 360 degree view of job. You know the main duties and you know the critical pay off activities. You also know the benefits the company provides. From my experience most recruiters, who have an intimate knowledge of their candidate base, will at this time already have a few people in mind. It is like piecing a puzzle together to see the full picture. When you use this detailed step by step approach, you will be confident of success as your candidates know exactly what they are in for when they join the company!