What else to consider when writing Job Descriptions?

Well written Job Descriptions help get your employee structure right and the right people in each job.

To get the right person in the right position takes a structured approach. Three critical documents in the preparation stage will put you in good stead for a good hire – the job specification, the person specification and the position description itself.

The first step in getting what you want from a job description is being very sure yourself about what it is you want. Writing up all the functions to be performed within the job is termed the “Job Analysis” – allocating tasks into groups of tasks that fit logically together from a skills & workflow point of view.

Once you have the tasks you need to be performed in their groups, then you need to assess what type of skill set is required to perform each of the task groups – and how independently you want those skills to be performed (this determines seniority). At this stage of the process, you are identifying the skill set required for each of the jobs in your team.

Unless your business undergoes a significant change in scope or you are gearing up for growth or restructure, you won’t need to do either of these things continually. The tasks to be performed, the skill sets, and experience required to perform them to your expectation are established at a macro level across the business.

Identifying the right work personality for the job is the key to getting the right team members together!

You are almost ready to create your job description. Your next consideration is the identifying the personality type best suited to performing the types of tasks within the job. Do a check across your list of tasks to make sure that you have matched the skill and the work personality correctly. Consider things like;

  • Attention to detail vs big picture vision.
  • Ability to interface with a broad range of people vs ability to remain focused on the task.
  • Ability to inspire action in others vs focused on one’s own actions.
  • Conformity to standards vs breaking outside of the square.

Employ people who are right for the job and for your business - not people you feel you like.

Really consider each of these factors across all the task groups or roles in your business – this will stop you from employing people you feel comfortable with or are naturally attracted to.

Next, you need to take your task list a step further and consider what measurable outcomes you are expecting from the person who you appoint to this job. This has a bearing on seniority and pay levels.

Once you have all these elements of your overall hiring and employee management plan, you draw them together into an individual job description for the role you are hiring – it’s a mistake to not consider all of the above and just plug a hole.

Once you have all of this information assembled at company level, scoping and writing a job description becomes a much more considered and informed process – as does interviewing for the right fit.

You will interview employees on a skill and experience basis in a structured manner, and you will be assessing their ability to perform the functions to your required standard based on their training, experience and work personality. This is twice as likely to result in a good hire.

To step up your recruitment skills and make better recruitment choices, use RecruitNZ's 4 page Recruit Right guide - it's free. Just drop your contact details in the box below and we will send it to you!


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Tanya Gray is your strategic HR partner, passionate about driving clients’ productivity with innovative solutions and collaboration.

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