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6 Steps to writing a job description for maximum impact (+FREE template!)

23 Feb 2016 by Sarah Leembruggen.
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A list of responsibilities and necessary qualifications doesn’t go a long way. Highlighting what sets your company aside from the rest and showcasing what makes the role exciting will bring you a lot closer to finding a quality person to fill a position. 

A recruiter will want to sell the culture of a company to a candidate. So have a good think and ask yourself these key questions: 

  • What sets your company aside from your competitors?
  • What are your values and vision?
  • What makes the company an exciting one to work for?
  • What kind of attitudes and personal qualities constitute a good match to the culture of your company?

Be honest about the role and make it clear what will be expected of the successful applicant in the first 6 or 12 months. By thinking beyond the standard formula for drawing up a job description, not only will a recruiter be able to find well-matched people but you will also be better prepared for the interview.

With this in mind, follow these 6 simple steps and you’ll have put together a top-notch job brief:

1. De-clutter

Recruiters need descriptions that are clearly and simply written.  They don’t want to wade through a sea of corporate jargon and lose sight of the job requirements.  If the description is overly complicated, it’s a harder task to pinpoint the best candidates.

2. Make it pop

In today’s competitive market, draw out the key selling points about the role.  For senior roles such as a Director, the description needs to be more than a laundry list of tasks and responsibilities. Highlight exciting and interesting professional challenges as well as opportunities to lead and inspire a diverse international team that come with the fast moving role of a Corporate Director; focus on why a prospective employee should take this role or join your company over a similar role with one of your competitors.

3. Keep it fresh

Don’t rely solely on a job’s history as you write a description for today.  The brief should focus on what the job needs to be in light of the company’s current status and long-term goals.  It’s critical that recruiters are supplied with descriptions that are a true reflection of the job being advertised.

4. Be realistic

For senior roles, you obviously want to find an extremely impressive individual with excellent natural leadership skills.  Understandably, the job description needs to communicate clearly the key qualifications you are seeking and include the attributes that underlie superior performance. However this can lead to a long list of criteria, leaving recruiters feeling as though they need to track down not just a superstar high performer, but a superhero. Even when dealing with high-profile roles, try to stick to a concise list of things that are both useful to the recruiter and attainable to the candidate.

5. Be specific

Recruiters see too many job descriptions that are filled with phrases and statements that are too open to interpretation.  What is ‘professional’ to one person means something completely different to someone else.  Aim for a few key behavioural specifics; there’s a big difference between saying, “Must show top-notch leadership skills” and “Directing a global management structure and processes that deliver consistently outstanding client service through a complex network of relationships.” A recruiter will have a much easier time matching a candidate to the second description.

6. Be enticing

If you don’t know what to include in a job brief, think about your best performers in senior roles and what it is they’ve done that that makes them stand out to you in a leadership capacity. As well as attracting the right employee, remember that you want to sell the role to them, so the brief should provide a snapshot of what makes the position so appealing.   If you’re stuck for ideas, there’s a host of information here on what makes people happy at work. 

Download our free job description template.

If you have any other tips on writing a job description for maximum impact, we’d love to hear them.

The Works Search specialise in placing mid to senior level PR and communications talent in leading PR agencies and in-house organisations across London, on both a contingency and executive search basis. For our latest roles visit our jobs page, or contact the team on 0207 559 6690 to discuss your career in confidence.

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