Define the Role Before You Write the Job Description

Posted by Ginni Garner on Jan 1 2013

Define the Role Before You Write the Job DescriptionOne of the biggest errors hiring managers make is writing a job description without first clearly defining the job’s roles and key responsibilities. Such job descriptions can actually cast a company in a bad light, making it seem unorganized, unprepared and even underfunded.

For example, one company seeking a CEO listed qualifications such as “access to e-mail and a computer”; “familiarity with the parliamentary rules of order”; and “strong project management skills”. While these may be skills important in the day-to-day functioning of the organization, these qualifications don’t really get to the heart of what’s expected from the CEO in terms of setting out the overall corporate mission and making sure its execution leads to a more successful organization.

Top-quality executive recruiters often recommend that before writing a job description, it’s important to define the role by developing a Position Success Profile. This approach can help do the following:

· Attract the best candidates –  especially top talent who’s not even actively seeking a new position
· Align the company, department and individual goals
· Outline goals and expectations of performance objectives

Here are the four key steps that recruiters follow when they develop a job description/position success profile:

1. Outline the key goals – What does the company aim for over the next 12 to 18 months? What are specific departmental goals and targets? How will the new hire help meet both corporate and department goals?

2. Identify challenges – What are likely challenges the new hire mace face in reaching the above targets and goals? Sometimes, a new hire is up for big challenges, but she or he doesn’t always want to just move from one difficult position or company to another with equal or even bigger challenges. It’s important when writing a job description to motivate, but not scare off, potential talent.

3. Outline key tasks and activities – Define, specifically, the steps and activities that are critical to overcoming challenges and meeting or exceeding company goals.

4. Define your results and what you mean by success – This step is too often neglected in writing a job description. Without a clear definition of results and success, a new hire may end up focusing on a secondary goal or achieving a measure of success that’s not aligned with the company’s view of ‘success.’ This is a really important step when hiring for sales and sales management positions, since they typically have experience working toward very specific and measurable targets.

In a nutshell, you and your hiring team must identify goals, challenges, key tasks and activities, and then define what success for a new hire means. Following this process makes writing a job description easier and helps you find the best possible candidate for your position.

We recruit top talent everyday – how can we help you find your ideal hire?

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Topics: executive recruiters, recruitment process, job description

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