What To Think About When Writing a Job Description

Having just googled ‘how to write a job description’ I was both unsurprised and unimpressed to see lots of articles about getting the job title right or how to make sure that you have listed the responsibilities correctly or making sure you find someone with the right experience. Although I didn’t see anything that inspired me, I think I scrolled through 5 pages of search results before I gave in, it did remind me of why we started GPS in the first place.

Why, when people leave due to the environment and culture of a team, do companies hire based on skills and experience? Especially when, in smaller offices, hiring someone who doesn’t fit into the team can have significant consequences on the performance and productivity of the whole office.

Some simple facts to back this up. Companies across the UK spent a total of £97 billion on hiring in 2015, taking into account recruitment, training, and the impact on productivity. Of this, we only spent £230 million on defining what the right person would look like. That is 0.24%. For every £400 we spent trying to find people in a candidate short market, we invested less than £1 on working out we actually want. Which is insane right?

No wonder 48% of people leave their job within the first 18 months.

So, when putting together a job description, delete that generic template and put some real thought into the person you want to hire. Think about values, motivations, and behaviour over skills and experience. Think about what sort of person is going to add or give balance to your team, going to help your team grow, going to be excited about the journey you are going on and then think about whether you need a Manager or Senior Manager, Sage or Xero, work or life experience.

Out of everything a new hire brings to the table – intellect, values, motivations, behaviours, experience and skills, it is the last one, skills, that is easiest to change so shouldn’t it take up the least space on that job description?

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