Recruiting solo (part 3): Writing that perfect job description

Welcome back to our recruiting solo series. In part two we spoke about going to market and attracting applicants to your business. Now that the applications are coming in, how do you best screen and interview to identify the best applicant for your business?
Answer: You do it against a well-crafted job description.
A job description doesn’t have to be lengthy, but it does need to identify key deliverables and accountabilities.
Applicants can and do ask for a copy of the job description. It is a selling tool, so make sure you make it appealing and engaging. You will also be using it to help manage employees with their performance and it could be very useful piece of document in dispute cases.
So, what does a perfect job description need to comprise of?

A summary

A couple of short sentences summarising the role and what it accomplishes.

Key Accountabilities

This should comprise of a maximum of half a dozen bullet points. Having too many and you risk putting off candidates from applying or make it more difficult for yourself to manage the individual.
These should tie into your objectives.


Following on from the accountabilities these should be around deliverables of those accountabilities.
Objectives should follow the S.M.A.R.T principle.
For example, a key accountability might be “Manage all end-to-end recruitment for operational personnel”. The objective might then be “Maintain a direct hire target of 85 percent with a time to hire of 20 business days”.
Having specific, measurable objectives will allow you to better manage performance of an individual where required.


Here, you would list some preferred skills. Interviewing for capability will enable you to identify those who have the skills to be successful in your organisation.
Whilst experience is important and helps with productivity in the short term, hiring for capability gives you longer term potential.
Like the other sections, list a half dozen points, and tie these into your organisations culture and values.

Culture and Values

Nailing this can be difficult. What the exec might aspire to be and do, might not be the felt experience for what ever reason on the shop floor.
It is really important that what you sell in your recruitment process, if the felt experience by the new employee is otherwise, they will leave.
You may look back on your own experience where you bought into the culture and values of a company but when you started, it was the exact opposite. If you work for a challenging company then you may want to recruit for Resilience, Tenacity, Flexibility, Ambiguity etc.
It would be my recommendation to use a HR Tech product to help you make more informed decisions. There is a stack of software on the market to help you benchmark, validate and qualify applicants. These software can and do add value, but only when the organisation conducts its on internal benchmarking.
Next week, we will discuss about interview screening. Stay tuned!
To read Part 1, click here.
To read Part 2, click here.
To read Part 4, click here.
To read Part 5, click here.
Cover image: Shutterstock

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