Many entrepreneurs find it difficult to prepare and present an effective job description. However, if you are clear about the purpose of a role and what you expect of the person in the role, you will find that the most important information fits on one or two pages. The people who work with or for you want to know what is expected of them.
The starting point is to be clear about the purpose of having a job description. I would suggest there are three purposes:
Being clear about the purpose allows you to periodically determine whether the purpose is still appropriate and whether the person in the job is fulfilling the purpose.
4. Stratum. Stratum is a measure of complexity of the work in a role. This is a very important and somewhat complex topic, and the next few articles will go into it in detail.
5. Areas of work. Areas of work are not specific tasks but rather the types of tasks you will be assigning. For example,
You won’t know ahead of time every specific task you want your employee to work on, but you can and should say what the type of work will be because:
6. Key tasks. Some tasks do carry predictable tasks. Your Bookkeeper or your Office Administrator will have to reconcile the books every month. Your Marketing Director needs to get a newsletter out every quarter or once a month. If you expect these specific tasks to be part of the role, it is useful to include them in the role description.
7. Compensation. Finally, how do you plan to compensate the employee? You need to spell out the salary, expected number of hours per week, whether you will pay extra for overtime and whether there are opportunities for bonus or profit sharing moving forward.
What I just outlined, describes the role itself. Two additional items will be useful in the hiring process.
8. Distribution of time. For two reasons, it will be useful for you to describe how much time per week you expect your employee to spend on each of the various activities their work entails:
9. Capability required. It will be useful to specify what you are looking for in a candidate. It typically takes special experience for some skills and knowledge to be developed, so it may be useful to specify what experience you are looking for in a candidate. Finally, some roles may require specific licences or degrees.
RETURN ON THE EFFORT
It may seem that writing and maintaining job descriptions takes an inordinate amount of time, so let’s look at how much time this exercise actually takes and what you get in return.
Filling out the job description the first time should take about 30 minutes if you already know what you are looking for. The return on that half hour is a document you can hand to an applicant to tell them what they are applying for, that will guide your selection of whom you hire, and that will guide how you manage the applicant once they are hired.
If it takes longer to fill out the form because you have to think about your answers, the problem is not with the form or with filling it out but that you are not clear on what you want your new employee to do. Thinking about the questions on the form, filling out the form and reviewing the form periodically all take time. But, as is the case with all areas of management, if you don’t have time to do it right the first time, how will you have the time to do it over?
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