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The job description is one of the most important tools an organization can utilize to attract the best finance talent in the market. Resulting from a job analysis, the job description typically includes the job title, a list of duties and responsibilities, job specifications, and standards of performance
However, despite its importance, many organizations still have positions with poor job descriptions, and even positions with no job description at all!
It’s not uncommon for an employer to know that they definitely need to bring somebody new into the business, but to not have carefully thought out exactly what it is that the new team member would be doing. This is a dangerous way to start.
There is no question that every candidate expects to see a job description if they are even going to consider a career move. If a recruiter can’t provide one, that’s another issue. But if you are planning to recruit yourself, what sort of impression are you creating if you can’t even provide a potential new employee with a description of the job you are hoping they will do for you? The all too common “We’re hoping to create the job around the best candidate depending on their previous experience” doesn't really cut it either.
The actual position title must accurately reflect what they will be doing in the role. Don’t make it too vague or ‘creative’. You will just confuse people or perhaps even put them off. You need to define the reporting lines and working relationships. Specifically who they will be reporting to, and who they will be working closely with.
Most important is the list of duties in the role – and what percentage of time you expect them to dedicate to certain tasks. This will certainly help candidates better prepare to meet your expectations. Sometimes it’s hard to separate the necessary skills required in the role from the core competencies required in the successful candidate. To make it easier here, think of the skills as something that a candidate may have learnt such as a particular software package. The competencies are more natural traits or attributes like “highly organised”, “team player”, “confident negotiator”, “someone who can multi-task”.
If you don’t want to commit to a fixed salary, then at least come up with a salary range – but do some research to ensure that the range is within market rate. It’s also a good idea to include any benefits that you offer your staff.
A job description should be no more than one A4 page that includes a brief company overview (including location), the points outlined above, and also a brief explanation as to what’s on offer.
No employer wants to hear a team member say, “sorry but that’s not in my job description”. Every manager wants staff happy to go beyond the call of duty. However “the call of duty” still needs to be documented in some way. Besides, how do you expect to write your ad or even assess applications or interview candidates without at least a basic framework outlining what you are looking for?
• Don’t make the job title too vague
• Define reporting lines and working relationships
• Remember to separate skills from competencies
• Highlight the benefits or incentives associated with the job
• Describe your organisation… but not in too much detail
• Talk directly to the reader… use the word “you”
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