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The Art of Job Descriptions

Kirstie Kelly

The importance of a good job description goes well beyond attracting suitable candidates. Unless you know exactly why the organization needs a new hire, you can’t effectively search for one. Until you have a clear and well-defined concept of the position, and its responsibilities, the perfect candidate cannot exist. Stop and think before you hire the right person for the wrong job.

The first step in creating an effective job description is to draw up a list of tasks and responsibilities that you need the new hire to undertake. In doing so, you are ensuring you have assigned the right job title and you have understood the role you are trying to fill. As Roberta Chinsky Matuson, president of Human Resource Solutions, said to Inc.com, "Sometimes when you think you need a sales manager, you actually need a marketing manager, and vice-versa."

Together, you and the new role’s manager need to draw up an outline of how the role fits into the company’s wider business strategy. You need to understand how the role can evolve and continue to contribute to your organization’s growth. It is a costly mistake to hire someone for a short term or transient demand, and later find you are paying a salary for a position that adds no value to the business.

Once you have all of that down, you need to communicate it clearly and concisely in the job description. Articulate the working environment and management style that candidates can expect and make sure they know what you want from them. In doing so, you will create the standard against which to measure each applicant’s suitability for the job: your selection process is made quicker and easier.

Finally, make sure you define the role, not the person you want to fill it. Diversity breeds innovation, so keep your mind open to all possible talent and let applicants’ individual merits surprise you.

How much time do you spend on the art of job descriptions?

Kirstie Kelly

Kirstie is our resident expert in the field of recruitment and technology, having 23 years total experience in commercial business across a range of business sectors. As a result, she has been instrumental in ensuring the innovative technology provided at LaunchPad is relevant for our customers. Kirstie's passion is all about finding creative solutions to recruitment challenges. And no better way than with technology!