Top tips on writing a job description

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A job description is a key document in recruitment, induction, appraisal and job evaluation.

A useful exercise when writing a new job description is to use a mind map. This can help to outline the key accountabilities of the role which will lead to a clearer understanding of the job purpose.

Key accountabilities should normally be around three to eight. The accountabilities should emphasise output, e.g. development and delivery of a fundraising strategy to maximise income for the charity.

The checklist below will help you determine whether you have included all the important accountabilities in a job description:

  • Communication
  • Responsibility for resources
  • Responsibility for others
  • Planning
  • Investigation, analysis and research
  • Use of equipment
  • Contextual information included

A person specification should sit alongside any job description. It will help you to define the selection criteria to be used in the recruitment of an employee to the role. It will also help you to plan future training and development needs of the role holder.

The person specification should link to and complement the job description and include information on:

  • Skills, knowledge and experience
  • Qualifications
  • Personal qualities

Care should be given to ensure that the job description and person specification do not discriminate against potential applicants. For example, requesting ‘must hold a clean driving licence’ may discriminate against disabled applicants. Consider alternatives, for example if the requirement to drive is infrequent, consider whether a disabled applicant could undertake these duties by public transport or taxi.

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