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How to write a job description: a guide to attracting top talent

Crafting an effective job description is not just a task to check off your recruitment to-do list, but a crucial step in the hiring process. It sets the stage for success by attracting top talent and providing clarity and precision. In this blog, we will delve into the art of writing a job description that not only captures the attention of potential candidates but also aligns with your organisation's goals.

The difference between a job description and person specification

Before diving into the details of crafting a compelling job description, it's important to understand the difference between a job description and a person specification. A job description outlines the role's responsibilities, objectives, and reporting lines, while a person specification outlines the skills, qualifications, and behaviours required for job performance. To attract top talent, you should include both in your job ad.

What is a job description?

A job description serves as a summary of the essential responsibilities, activities, qualifications, and skills needed for a role. Commonly referred to as a JD, this document provides an overview of the type of work performed. Additionally, a well-crafted job description includes important company details such as the mission, culture, and employee benefits. It may also specify the position's reporting structure and salary range. An effective job description should provide enough detail for candidates to determine their qualifications for the position. 

Tips for writing a job description:

  1. Company description: Begin with a succinct overview of your organisation, highlighting industry insights, company culture, success stories, and growth trajectory to entice top talent.
  2. Job overview: Craft a compelling elevator pitch for the role, clearly articulating the required skills and competencies, and quantifying tasks and objectives wherever possible.
  3. Reporting lines and training: Provide details about team dynamics, project involvement, reporting structures, and emphasise training and development opportunities.
  4. Salary and benefits: Be transparent about compensation by researching market rates and offering a competitive salary package. Download our salary survey here to review accurate market salary and pay averages in your sector.Highlight additional benefits like professional development, flexible work arrangements, and community engagement initiatives.
  5. Diversity statement: Showcase your commitment to diversity and inclusion by incorporating a statement into your job description, highlighting your organisation's efforts to create a diverse workforce and accommodate individual needs.
  6. Writing for undefined roles: In emerging industries, focus on outlining the role's purpose and overarching goals, while leaving room for evolution as the position crystallises.

What is a person specification?

Accompanying a job description, a person specification outlines the personal attributes sought in a potential employee. It sets out the qualities and qualifications required to ensure suitability for the role. While a job description emphasises educational qualifications and technical skills, a person specification provides a profile of the ideal candidate.

Tips for writing a comprehensive person specification:

  1. Required skills: Define the technical and soft skills essential for job success, aligning them with the duties outlined in the position description.
  2. Required competencies: Identify key behaviours and competencies that align with your organisation's culture and values, such as communication prowess and adaptability.
  3. Qualifications: Specify any mandatory certifications, licenses, or educational credentials relevant to the role.
  4. Level of experience: Determine the required experience level, considering both past achievements and potential for growth.

Alignment is key

Harmonising the position description and person specification is crucial for a successful recruitment process. Ensure both documents are in sync to enable fair and comprehensive evaluation of prospective candidates. 

Conclusion and next steps

Crafting a job description is more than just a procedural task; it's an opportunity to showcase your organisation's ethos, attract top talent, and set the stage for mutual success. By investing time and thought into this foundational document, you pave the way for a seamless and fruitful recruitment journey.

Are you ready to find top talent for your organisation? Submit your job description here and let our recruitment specialists help you source the best candidates for your needs.

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