How to write a position description
How to write a position description
You’d be amazed at the number of employers who contact us asking for help to find and engage their next employee without having a clear indication of exactly what they want. Sure, you may require a hybrid marketing, social media, content and digital professional, but without clearly defining the specific tasks to be completed, the objectives to be met, the skills required, and the salary and benefits offered, how can you hope to identify the most suitable person?
This is where a position description comes in. A position description is arguably the most under-utilised part of the recruitment process for busy business owners or hiring managers, but it’s one of the most crucial as it is used by yourself, your recruiter and applicants to understand what is required to be successful in the role. So, how do you write one?
Start with a description of your business. The majority of position descriptions don’t include any details about the company that is hiring, but recruitment is a two-way process – if you want to hire the best, you have to sell your organisation to them.
So, describe the service or products your company provides and what industry or industries you work in. Include details not available on your website, such as success stories, your ambitions or your growth plans. Describe the culture of your organisation and your office environment. If you have won any awards mention them too.
Most importantly, be honest. Don’t oversell and under deliver otherwise you risk rising turnover.
Overview of the job
Think of this as your elevator pitch, a quick overview of the job. To come up with this, jot down what you are really looking for.
- Do you need a specialist in one particular area or someone who has varied skills in several areas?
- What specific duties and tasks will your new hire perform?
- What skills and experience will they need to complete each task?
If you are replacing a departing employee, will hiring someone with similar credentials meet the needs of the job or do you want to expand or change certain aspects or responsibilities?
Next, get down to the nitty gritty. Detail the size of the team and who the successful candidate will report into. If the new hire will be working on any large or important projects, describe them as this will appeal to top talent. Include training and development opportunities, which are also key attraction points for candidates.
Establish the skills that are essential and those that would be an advantage but can be taught. Include both technical and soft skills, and any professional qualifications if applicable.
It’s common for employers to list all the requirements they ideally want in candidates, however given current market conditions and skills in demand are ten out of ten requirements really essential? Can some skills be developed over the course of the job?
It is important to include the salary in your position description too, but don’t pull a figure out of the air. Research current market salaries by referring to a recent salary guide, even if the new employee will be a direct replacement. After all, many factors can impact typical market salaries and you can be sure that prospective candidates have done their homework and know what salaries are currently on offer for other comparable roles.
This element is omitted from the majority of job specifications, but jobseekers want to know what benefits are on offer. When you consider the competitive talent market, a description of the benefits available in your organisation will help you stand out.
Right now, jobseekers are looking for opportunities that offer on-the-job skills development. Think of your advantages here, it’s a good time to promote the stretch opportunities, mentorships or coaching you can offer staff.
Mention every benefit your organisation offers, whether it’s free parking, flexible start and finish times, a sports or social club or even fast-track promotions. Equally a modern office, working with the latest technology or a warm friendly environment can be just as persuasive.
The more benefits you can list, the more likely it is that one will attract your ideal candidate.