Meaningful job descriptions? You mean job descriptions can be meaningful?
A recent client, we will call her Janine, has too much work to do. She is buried. Fortunately she has a great boss who agreed that she needs to add a part-time position on her team. But where to start? She decides to start with a job description. Seems reasonable. But how?
Janine had never created a job description before. She didn’t even have a job description for her own job. After 15 years in the same role she pretty much knew what she needed to get done every day, week and month.
She starts by making a list of all the tasks she handles on a monthly basis, sort of a time study. This gives her a really long list but she did not help her figure out what work to delegate to a new assistant.
Janine is so frustrated with this process she starts to wonder if she should look for a different job where the workload was more balanced. All because she cannot figure out how to create the job description that will allow her to hire a person to help her balance her workload in her current job!
Most people have never created a job description. Most people do not know where to start. Janine is not alone. Take a look at the job descriptions posted as job openings on any job vacancy aggregator like indeed. Most are a long list of job tasks. It is almost impossible to learn much about the job expectations from a long list of tasks.
I asked Janine a few simple but important questions. What is the outcome when you are successful? I call these the critical success factors. How will “they” know you have done a good job?
In Janine’s case, she is successful when she distributes a marketing newsletter with interesting free downloads that encourages her audience to make additional purchases. Her audience likes case studies too but she has little time in her day to create case studies because she is distracted by the other tasks.
By identifying the critical success factors we can see which tasks out of the hundred assorted tasks on her list are really critical. These tactics are the priorities that support her success. Less important tasks that do not support any key business deliverables can be eliminated or perhaps delegated.
It takes specific knowledge, skills and abilities to accomplish the tactics that lead to success. Janine can list those knowledge, skills and abilities. These are the characteristics of the person who will be right for the job. Best of all, Janine can create a meaningful job description with these elements.
She can use this technique to carve out some important tasks that create a meaningful job for a new part-time position. Janine feels a big weight lift off her shoulders!
So let’s summarize. The chart below outlines a great way to turn a bunch of tasks into meaningful job description that can be used to recruit and screen candidates: