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Recruiting the best

Recruitment isn’t easy. Okay, once in a blue moon the perfect candidate falls out of the sky, but the other 99.5 per cent of the time it is hard work.

Why? Well, in many instances we find our clients [employers] are not 100 per cent sure what they are looking for. This is especially so for a new role, but even a replacement role can be difficult, particularly if you use this is an opportunity to expand the position or tidy up the ‘role creep’ which happens in every business over time.

The answer itself is fairly straightforward: write a job description. Which is where the fun begins.

Over the years we have seen everything from single page efforts which basically list the job title and the daily task list, to 12-page novelettes which detail everything except bathroom break times.

As recruiters we rely on quality job descriptions. Where a client has a detailed description, which operates throughout their business, we will work with that.

However, where the opportunity presents itself we will take the time at the outset of the recruitment process to work with our clients and prepare a job description that we can both gain value from and which, very importantly, will help us attract them the right candidate.

There is no absolute right or wrong, and obviously some roles demand more detail and explanation than others, but creating a good job description at the beginning can save some pretty horrible situations developing in the future.

Further, in a market where candidates usually have more than one option (good ones certainly) the quality of the job description is a marker for the quality of the business.

So what do we look for?

The key things are:

• the job title,

• the reporting lines,

• the status and position of the role within the overall structure of the business,

• the principal internal and external relationships,

• the key accountabilities and authorities (many of which will be measurable and reported outcomes),

• the relevant experience and skills, including professional qualifications considered necessary for success in the role, and
nwherever possible, an outline of the personal attributes of the preferred candidate.

Each of these can and usually does cause a degree of debate, but each is useful in its own way in building a picture of the role and enables potential recruits to be given a clear and accurate picture of the position they are applying for, while helping us to represent our clients in the best possible light.

The prominent characteristic of the job description is it should be objective. Keep it simple and tell it straight.

It enables candidates to be measured in an objective manner, whether it is their qualifications, duration of experience, suitability of skills or the attributes needed to rise to the challenge of the new role.

The job description is the start point. The end result is the ideal candidate who respects the quality of your business and is excited by the opportunity.

What could be more perfect?

• Colin Macleod is sales director at Ninedot Consulting Ltd based in Auckland, email