Industry Insights / 8th Nov 2018

Writing the perfect job spec

Searching for that ‘ideal person’ involves a lot of sifting and sorting, with so many stages involved in the hiring process it can sometime feel like a never-ending task. Roles need to be filled and you want to ensure the right information is in front of the right people at the right time, but where do you start? 

Let’s start with the problem

A job spec allows potential candidates to gauge what is needed from them in order to succeed in the role. With so many factors that need to be considered; attainments, soft skills and capabilities, you need to ensure your job spec is a true representation of the position and your company. If this first step is not clear you will shortly find yourself with a new recruit in the wrong job and back to square one, costing your business time and money.

A study by The City & Guilds Group found that ‘confusing job descriptions are a major barrier for young job seekers’, often by using confusing jargon or acronyms.

Although young people may make up a small percentage of your ideal recruits, it’s important not to limit any hiring opportunity. From interviewing thousands of candidates, we can confirm no two are the same, meaning a job spec will not appeal to everyone despite their similarities. For example, a former Account Executive at a large creative company may not have the right experience and attributes for a Junior Account manager position at a small marketing consultancy, despite the similar title. This highlights the importance of specifying the detail of the role so that the right person is interested in the right role and is aware of what is expected from them.

Of course, role titles are important as people need to know what you’re offering, but it’s the detail which will determine whether someone is interested or not.

So, how to approach this.

Today’s candidates are a generation of skimmers and scanners, so as an employer you need to understand the key information relevant to the candidate, while keeping your company culture and requirements paramount. From our experience, we find that there is a need for 3 key factors to create the perfect job spec.

  1. Attainment

It is important to describe the qualifications needed for the role, but only if they’re essential/ desirable for the performance of the job. If you would consider someone who has 17 years of marketing experience but no qualifications, highlight that experience is valued within your company, keeping this candidate type interested.

  1. Softer Skills

As 99.9 % of creative positions require some level of contact with people be that internal or external, it’s important to understand what type of person will fit your company culture. Ensure you state a few clear characteristics for candidates to identify and engage with. To understand what type of person will ‘fit in’ with your company culture, you may want to identify the types of personalities your current staff have with this simple exercise.

  1. Job-specific capabilities

Of course, use of different personality profiling is important but limiting your candidate reach to the pursuit of unrealistic capabilities may mean the perfect person is overlooked. It is good to remember that some technical ‘how to’ skills can be taught, 89% of new hires lose their jobs due to something involving their attitude or personality, so it’s important to hire someone with a blend of the right personal attributes and skill set.

What’s next…

With over 20 years’ experience, we have filled a wide variety of creative job roles, from junior account executives, to managing directors. We ensure we fully understand our client’s company culture and create a job spec that not only matches skills and experience but highlights the all-important cultural attributes.

It is worth remembering that while the job spec highlights the requirements of the position that are important for the individual to possess, it also acts as an advertisement for your company.  You are being interviewed as much as the interviewee.  Write out your job spec then sleep on it, read it back and ask yourself – “Would I want to work for this company?”

We work with our clients throughout the hiring process, ensuring that only those candidates that are both capable and have the right attitude are put forward.

If you are unsure where to start, why not give us a call to talk us through what you are looking for and tell us a little about your company, we can’t wait to hear from you!