Job specs....the start of any recruitment search are often undervalued and underused. Knowing what you need doing and what skills you need to do it. Without establishing this how will you know if the candidates are potentially right for you? 

That, on the surface, is great news for employers in the current job market that is feeling the effect of a global skills shortage.


Even though many candidates are now open to a move, as their employer of choice you will still need to attract them to your organisation and the role in question and don't forget its competitive out there.

This is where your recruiting challenge can start with the simplest of documents; the humble job spec.

A couple of weeks ago, a good friend of mine was visiting Leeds from London. She is a sales manager currently living on the M4 corridor. A great hire for any organisation.

She was showing me a couple of job specifications that were really, really REALLY poor.

Unfortunately, they went in the bin, of course, and her search continues.

The role could have been perfect but the Company didn't spend the time or effort bringing this to life.


A practical recruitment gem

As a large recruitment organisation, we deal with clients and candidates every day.

With our large database of candidates, we highlight the importance of a good CV (you can read our article here).

With our clients, we talk about the power of a job specification that communicates, specifically what the role entails and creates buzz and excitement related to what it would be like working both in that role and organisation.

With over  27 years in recruitment and thousands of candidates placed in both temporary and permanent roles we know what makes a compelling job specification and what doesn’t. That is why I decided to put finger to keyboard to share some vital do’s and don’ts.


1. Bring the Job Spec to Life!

Must of us in an organisation have a day job to ‘do’ too! However, searching online for a specification/description someone else has used is a slippery slope to a ‘vanilla’ attempt.

The truth is you don’t know the results that the template you found achieved, therefore why use it?

Bringing the right employee into your organisation is vital and in today’s  internet savvy world, in which millennials make up most of today’s works force the demands are very different.

The millennial workforce is skimming online waiting for something that stands out to them- a template unfortunately is pretty obvious and won’t communicate; 'Wow! this is a stand out company I want to work with.'


2. Know your candidate and who you want.

Earlier I mentioned the increasing number of 30 something employees who dominate the market. What might be important about the role you want to fill for them will be totally different to a 50 something who loves to go to the footie or babysit the grandchildren.

You must factor this into how you craft job specifications for roles in your organisation.

Have a look here for some excellent Infographics that give some great pointers on how to connect with the different types of employees on the market i.e. Millenials, Baby boomers and Gen X and Z.


3. ‘Must have’ skills, qualifications and responsibilities.

Though I have talked about appealing to the candidates you want to attract into your organisation, remember to be clear about the skills and qualifications that are genuine must haves for the role in question.

Let’s say you are recruiting for a HR vacancy, you might have a minimum qualification, say a CIPD level 3 certificate in human resource practice. If that is the case it needs to appear.

The minimum requirements of the role should be clearly stated without any exaggeration. A conversation with all those involved and your friendly recruiter will ensure nothing gets missed.

You may want to attract superior candidates by including a set of preferred qualifications and skills. That is fine, however make sure that these clearly stand out as preferred. It’s never good for your company brand to come across as misleading candidates.
A final point here. Remember that all candidates will have development areas and in 25 years of recruiting I have seen some amazing careers flourish, even though initially the candidate didn’t tick everything on the client’s original job description.


4. Hang fire on the jargon.

I know we live in a world of emoticons and words that rarely make sense; I live with three teenagers tell me about it!

However, don’t get into jargon, be that common slang or your own sector specific anacronyms. Clear commination works best and here at LWR we track the job specifications that deliver and they are always concise, yet inspirational.

Ready to act?

At Lucy Walker Recruitment, we have written literally thousands of job specifications with our clients. That means we can help you. To get in touch call either our Leeds or Manchester office on: 0113 367 2880 and 0161 661 4421.

About the Author: Lucy Walker

Lucy Walker is the founder and Managing Director at Lucy Walker Recruitment.Lucy has an extensive knowledge of the issues and workings of the West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester Commercial markets developed over 25 years in the profession