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Knowing What You Need

Companies often use a job description to give to recruiters and potential candidates. Job descriptions are the appropriate document for detailing the specific tasks associated with the job. Prepared correctly, it should also serve as the document against which job performance can be measured. Preparing a document that you can use to manage a recruitment effort and to give to recruiters requires a more conceptual description of the position rather than a job description. This document is commonly referred to by recruiters as a Position Description. A good Position Description typically includes the following elements:

 1. The company
Describe the company, its products, market, and its position in the industry in comparison to its competitors.
 
2. Location
Describe the primary location of the company and the position, if different. Include any pluses and minuses about the location, if it could be considered a potential issue.
 
3. The Position
Identify a conceptual title for the position, like chief financial executive, manager of sales and marketing for consumer products, etc. This exercise may help you to gain a clearer, more conceptual, understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the position.
 
4. The Position’s Mission
Describe the mission or purpose of the position. Don’t use a job title but describe what the person in this position is expected to take responsibility for in the position that is consistent with the business strategy.
 
5. Reporting Relationships
Identify who this position reports to, what are the peer positions, and what are the direct and indirect positions that report to this position.
 
6. Expectations
List what you expect the person to accomplish within clearly specified timeframes. Incorporate milestones you expect the person to achieve in accomplishing your expectations. This will be critical information during an interview as you and your recruiters will need to assess each candidate’s ability to achieve the milestones and meet your expectations.
 
7. Experience
Describe the essential skills and experiences that you believe a candidate must possess in order to be successful in the position. Follow these with the “would like to have” skills and experiences.
 
8. Qualifications and Certifications
List specific qualifications, education, and certifications that candidates must possess. Follow these with the “it would be nice if they had them.”
 
9. Personal Characteristics
Make a bulleted list of the personal characteristics or traits that you think candidates must possess to be successful in the position and adapt to the company’s culture. Identify issues that the new person will confront and the personal characteristics you believe the person will need to deal with these issues.
 
10. Compensation
Describe the salary (within a range) and include a summary of the employment benefits. This information will be needed by recruiters but the salary should be deleted from copies you let candidates see.
 
11. Future
Describe the career path for the position and the company’s procedures for performance reviews.
 
12. Other Issues
Describe any other issue that might affect someone’s interest in the position or may be a factor in their accepting the position, such as outstanding legal cases, financing considerations, relocation, or a potential change in ownership.
 
When you’ve completed your Position Description, review it with the position’s boss and with peers who need to interact with the new person to make sure everyone is in agreement that it accurately describes what the business needs.
 
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