The job specification and how to get it right
Every requirement starts with a thorough role specification or as we sometimes refer to it, a value proposition. This document can at times be overly lengthy, and can be full of technical jargon as well as unnecessary detail about the role. Ideally you would want to consolidate this information down to the essentials, so that no time is lost, and the risk of misinterpretation is minimised, when it is released to the recruitment partner.
The job specification should cover the following seven areas, be concise and focused but also provide enough information to entice the potential candidate to want to learn more.
- The organisation
- The team
- The role
- The role development
- Personal qualities required
- The compensation package
- Process & timescales
Candidates will want to see company size, history and key markets as standard information but this is also an excellent opportunity to share insight into the company values and vision. Strong candidates in particular respond to goals and vision of not only the company but also the division and the product. This information needs to be inspiring them so focus on the writing here.
The team structure and size, how does it fit into the wider organisation, who are the key people within the team, is there a specific culture, how does it match up with the rest of the firm, etc. These are things that a prospective employee would want to know about.
The role itself
What’s the reason for the vacancy? Is it a newly created role, are you replacing someone or is it one that’s been planned for the team in order to complement it with additional skills? What will the main duties of the role be? What’s the purpose of the role? What background should the successful candidate have and what previous achievements would be considered useful and which would be vital?
This part is useful to allow consultants to ‘sell’ the role to the candidate. We know many employees in the life science sector are driven by personal achievement, work related success and professional development, and so in order to draw the right kind of people in, this information is crucial. The stronger a candidate is the more they’re likely to go for something that offers exciting opportunities down the line.
What personal qualities are required?
This section sometimes requires a bit of thought. Sometimes the line manager fall into the trap of specifying someone who’s similar to them, or someone they like, which is not necessarily the best fit for the role. Most teams benefit from a breadth of personality profiles rather than ‘a bunch of people who’d get along in the pub’. Also, consider shaping the personal attributes to the role as well as the team and culture.
The Benefits package
It is important that the full benefits package is detailed. Sometimes the most insignificant detail could tip the candidate in favour of accepting the role. You do not want to necessarily reveal specifics about the cash component at this point but healthcare, pension/401K, holiday entitlement and other fringe benefits are a great selling point.
Recruitment process & timelines
This information is important to have at the outset of the recruitment process as it often needs to be relayed to the candidates. For a consultant to be able to share this information is not just likely to increase the likelihood of successfully build interest in a role and a company, but it’s also likely to make the company come across as professional and organised.
The information that you should try to include is how many stages the process will run, what the approximate timelines for the process are, who will be interviewing you and their positions within the company, and the location of the interviews.
There is of course other detail that could be included in the role specification but a lot of it would depend on the specific role, the seniority and the organisation itself, so would be difficult to advise on. Important to keep in mind though is the fact that the more accurate and professional every aspect of the recruitment process is, the better it would reflect on the organisation itself, increasing the likelihood of a successful hire, minimising risk to the hiring project and saving time and money.