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The importance of a clear job specification

by Laura Davies | 22 August 2014

As recruiters, we are constantly working with clients who not only don't have a formal job description for the post they are looking to recruit to, but also don't want to restrict their options when it comes to candidates.

Whilst I love the flexibility that comes with providing a consultative approach to recruitment, offering advice and alternative off-the-wall options, it can be challenging when actually the client has a clear view of what they want - or as the case might be, their superior has a very clear view of what they need to see on a CV.

When taking a job description, I always ask clients to cover off three areas; firstly the actual job role. What will the successful candidate actually be doing day to day? This should be a list of duties that can easily be taken down.

Secondly I ask what needs to be seen on a CV and, importantly for this section, which of these points could be flexible? As a consultant I always want to be given a list of hard and fast requirements, and then flesh the options out from there. By talking through each requirement it becomes clear what is most important to the hiring manager.

Thirdly I then offer some alternatives based on our market knowledge. They could ask for an individual who is CIMA qualified, but what about an ACA candidate? Or perhaps a passed finalist?

Where my job becomes challenging is when a client gives me a very broad brief, with a couple of limitations, but is very happy to see a wide spectrum of options. On this basis as recruiters, we go from the daily tasks and our knowledge of the company, selling the role to candidates who might fit the personality brief but have a slightly different skill set.

If as a business you have a set list of requirements, but are unsure if that candidate exists, or are happy to see different options in addition to the dream candidate, then tell us!

As part of our role as consultants we will always advise if there will be a shortage of candidates, where a specification is too narrow, or if there is a perfect candidate who only currently ticks three out of five boxes.

If you're currently looking to recruit and would like to discuss your options, please contact me on lmachin@sellickpartnership.co.uk or 01782 572700.