Job Description Writing Tips
Ready to start building your team? Here are our experts’ tips for a financial sector job description.
From job description to on-boarding, an HR team needs to move fast. So, even before you start, ensure that the boxes are ticked. Do you have sign-off, at the right level, to proceed? Achieving a common understanding is a particular issue when the new recruit will be a ‘servant of two masters’, working across teams or juggling responsibilities on different work streams. Have the decision makers agree on the core competencies they are looking for, and how the successful candidate will divide his or her time?
(Re)-defining the role
Identify no more than half a dozen core responsibilities. Now reconsider them, and maybe share them with someone else: do they still generate value or meet ongoing needs? Or are they ‘legacy’ functions, defined and then left behind by the previous post-holder or a past project? You have the chance to start again, but every existing or future responsibility in the job description must have a business case behind it.
This is also an opportunity to signal the challenges of the role – and, by implication, attract the kind of person who will rise to them. For example, if you need a business developer who will grow an area of your offering, or be expected to compete in a challenging new market, say so – but make clear that they will get the backing and the autonomy they will expect.
Now identify the required skills for the personal specification. Are they are achievable, measurable and objective? Remember that you will, to a large extent, be bound by the job description: it will define the terms of the interview process – particularly if it is competence-based – and set the applicants’ expectations for the role.
Don’t be afraid to insist on a genuine must-have: “successful operational forex experience” or “demonstrable market knowledge and key contacts – EMEA”. A good recruitment consultant will understand the reason for the must-have, but you’ll need to clarify what constitutes a tick or a cross.
Industry-standard or specialised?
Be prepared to describe the role to your recruitment partner in detail. There is no ‘typical’ PA or project manager, but you are entitled to expect core skills, sector knowledge and industry-wide competencies (a level of accredited training, for example or proficiency with workplace software or IT tools).
In particular, focus on the non-standard qualities that are specific to this role. Are they ‘desirable’ or genuinely ‘essential’? Are they a way of identifying a stand-out candidate? Or are you prepared to find a candidate with brilliant basics, then provide the training – and the time – to acquire the extras?
Describe the company you work for – not the one you wish you worked for. Terms like “Fortune 500 company” or “fast-growing start-up” are useful; candidates can infer a lot, from likely client base to dress code, and start considering you as a likely match. But, as with job spec, consider the unique qualities: the market, location or commercial opportunities that will attract an ambitious new joiner. If you expect your candidates’ attributes to be demonstrable, set yourself the same standard: “a friendly environment” may be true, but “independently voted one of the top 100 places to work” says even more.
If you are looking for a job visit our Career Advice section & Recruitment News for lots of helpful tips.
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