Good job briefs can be a challenge to write and in truth are very often poorly put together. If completed correctly they attract the most suitable people for the role because applicants can assess themselves against the role and interviewers needs. In short, a good brief lets the applicant know exactly what kind or person you are looking for. It is therefore vital that the information included is current and relevant to the needs of the position.
Below are some simple tips that will ensure structural consistency and help you stand out from the competition. To save time and guarantee success at the interview stage, use them as a template when writing your next job brief.
Principles to follow when writing a job brief:
1. Role (Not the person!):
Describe the requirements of the job not the person currently employed in the role.
2. Analysis (Not lists!):
Summarise the key functions of the job rather than a long list of the tasks that are carried out by the job holder i.e. what is being done both now and in the foreseeable future.
3. Facts (Not judgements!):
Therole profile should be a clear factual record of the job-holders responsibilities – be mindful of under or over-stating the requirements of the role
The brief should detail the overall purpose, key objectives, technical experience, qualifications, personal qualities and the core competencies of the job.
Key objectives of the role
This should be an accurate and concise statement summarising the overall purpose of the job i.e. why does the role exist? It should be 2-3 bullet points maximum.
This section outlines what needs to be achieved and/or completed in order to fulfil the key objectives of the role. It is not necessary to write the responsibilities in order of importance, but try to follow a logical sequence – it’s best to keep this to 10-12 bullet points. Try to use active verbs like ‘writing’ and ‘calculating’ instead of more generic terms like ‘dealing with’, or ‘in charge of’.
Be specific but avoid any reference to ‘X years’ experience’. Due to a change in legislation this could be seen as age discrimination. It can also rule out potentially suitable candidates who avoid applying because they feel that they are either too junior or over-qualified, whereas it is the quality and relevance of the experience that is more important than the number of years. Educational requirements should not exceed the requirements for satisfactory job performance, unless the person is being recruited on the basis of future potential (e.g. graduates). When specific about qualifications, be sure you can justify why they are required and make it clear you will consider equivalent or similar level alternative qualifications. Personal qualities should be specifically related to the needs of the job and ideally competency based.
Do not make gender an issue and avoid any jargon specific to your brand, ensuring that any acronyms are fully explained.
Points to remember
Good briefs shouldn’t be any longer than 2 pages – it keeps potential candidates engaged and they will be far more likely to read them from start to finish! It is vital to keep them interesting. Picture yourself as a potential candidate and what would attract you to a role. What would you find challenging and exciting? Most importantly, what would make you apply?
If you’ve got comments or tips on how you write a good brief, please put it in the comments below. If you want some help writing your next job brief then contact the member of the Source creative recruitment team relevent to your needs.