Recruitment series – Part 1: Job Descriptions

About the Author: Ashley Thomson
Ashley Thomson

Life, as best quoted by the affable Forrest Gump, is like a box of chocolates.

You never know what you’re going to get.

After eating more boxes of chocolates than we care to count and coaching a greater variety of businesses than naive old Forrest could ever have in one assortment, we’ve seen that businesses consider the process of recruitment much the same.

You never know what you’re going to get.

The thing is though, with some effective methodology and approaches, recruitment can be as effortless, easy and as predictable as picking dairy milk from cherry ripes.

So what we’re going to focus on is one of the key elements of recruiting, the job description.

Before we talk about what job descriptions are, let’s focus on a couple of things of what job descriptions are not.

Firstly, job descriptions are not vision statements.

And secondly, job descriptions are not company policy.

Job descriptions, in essence, follow a clear and concise hierarchy that make the dissemination of roles and duties manageable and easy to understand from an employee’s perspective. Within this process, and because of their centrality to job descriptions, the employee always needs to be front of mind, not vision statements and company policy.

From our time as coaching businesses in how to recruit we know that most good job descriptions begin by determining the major categories an employee is responsible for.

More plainly, we look at holistic tasks that are relevant to how the job is done in its entirety and all the areas the job is responsible for.

Let’s explain by showing an example.

For a bookkeeper, we’d be looking at categories such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, financial reporting and statutory reporting. Sounds easy enough.

Once we’ve got our categories for our job descriptions, we then focus on what’s required in each of these categories. We focus on specific (with an emphasis on the word specific) tasks that fall within each category.

Instead of a bookkeeper, let’s look at sales rep.

For a sales rep, they may have an overarching category of prospecting. Within this category, we would look at tasks such as following up designated sales leads and pre-qualifying those leads or guiding prospects through the sales funnel.

These tasks need to be specific, relevant and without added wording laden with “business-speak”. It’s always good to think of keeping it simple and keeping it specific. Tasks are about getting the job done day-to-day.

The final element of effective job descriptions are KPIs (key performance indicators). KPIs should be relevant to the categories as a whole but, more importantly, they need to be driven by the employees.

Ask yourself: what’s the point of creating KPIs within a job description if the person who is actually doing the job can’t achieve them?

By helping your employees, you’re helping yourselves.

Job descriptions are essential to recruitment. And through being diligent, methodical and logical about their structure, they help make recruitment all the more easier to navigate.

Take these tips, follow the guide, and job descriptions will be as easy as picking chocolates from a box.

Next up in the Recruitment Series:

Part 2: Job Advertisements

Part 3: The screening process 

Part 4: Telephone screening

Part 5: Face to face interview

Part 6: Reference checks

Part 7: Trial day

Image source: By condesign, skeeze ( [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons