Posted by Anonymous
The hiring process involves mutual selection. You're looking for someone to satisfy your needs, while the unemployed or, in some cases just restless, are searching for a job that will fulfill their needs. As an employer it is your job to present and explain the open position so that the right people respond. If the job description isn't completely accurate, or doesn't have the right feel to it, you are doing yourself and potential employees a disservice. In addition to the initial recruiting aspect, the job description is important after a candidate is hired because it can serve as a basis for performance evaluation and promotion.
To begin the development of a job description it is best to speak with someone who has done the job in the past or currently holds the position. Sometimes your idea about what a job entails may be very different than the person who is actually doing it. You should ask the incumbent two things:
Which tasks occupy most of your time on a daily basis?
Which tasks do you feel are the most important?
You will find that these two questions will not have the same answer because a lot of people feel that the majority of their time is not spent on the tasks they view as important. And usually, what a person describes as the most important is what they find most fulfilling. This will be helpful when writing the job description for recruiting purposes because while you still must list all tasks required, you can emphasize the "important" ones so that the job will sound more appealing.
After you've spoken with the actual officeholder, you should speak to the supervisor with whom the job reports as well as any other members of the department. The supervisor will serve as a useful resource because they can let you know how they like the aforementioned tasks to be performed. Other members of the department can weigh in and let you know what they expect of said position in order to their jobs efficiently. During the recruiting process you can use this information to describe the general personality you're seeking.
Now that you know who to talk to and generally what kind of information you should be looking for, you should also know that there are many different ways to obtain this information. Certain methods are better for different work environments and/or job types, but here are a few different options for you to consider.
In order to observe the daily routine first hand, let the employee know that you're going to spend the day shadowing them for the purposes of creating an effective job description. It's important to be up front about your intentions so as not to make the employee uncomfortable. Shadowing the everyday tasks will help you get a real feel for the job and because people become so habitual at work you may notice a task or two that the incumbent might have failed to mention as a responsibility.
It can be beneficial to get the officeholder, supervisor and department members in the same room to discuss the responsibilities of a specific position. Opening the lines of communication within a department will usually yield suggestions and ideas that might not have come up otherwise. The more points of view you have about a job the more accurate the job description will be.
Ask the incumbent to keep a journal of all tasks completed for about a week. Having them write it down everyday will keep the information fresh. It is also possible that a task will arise that does not occur very often but should be included in the job description's responsibilities nonetheless.
If it is not possible to bring department members in for an interview, you might want to create a questionnaire that they can fill out on their own time. Some possible questions you might ask are:
What decisions are you required to make?
How much supervision do you receive?
Do you manage or supervise anyone? If so, how many people?
How often do you interact with other staff?
What are the physical and technical requirements of the job?
How often to you collaborate in a team environment?
After all is said and done the job description you've created should be effective as both a recruiting and evaluation tool. It should give the reader the basic concept of the job and should include general working conditions, skills and knowledge required to perform key tasks. In addition, minimum qualifications should be presented so that the reader knows what is expected of them to satisfactorily accomplish the responsibilities of the position.