Job Descriptions

Why do I need this? That’s what the Agency is for, isn’t it?

Well possibly. Agencies are adept at writing job advertisements, based on a job description and a person specification. So the Agency will ask you for a job description, or at least ask you to describe what should be committed to a document.

But why?

Well, a good job description is a significant help in writing a job advertisement that will maximise the chances of attracting high quality candidates with the right skills and experience.

A poorly written job description will result in a vague job advertisement that can result a flood of responses from unsuitable applicants, or worse still, having no applications at all.

In addition to assist in writing and placing job advertisements, a well written job description is useful in a number of other ways:

  • It gives shortlisted applicants full details of the job they are applying for.
  • It helps an interviewer understand the job they are recruiting for.
  • It provides an indication to applicants of what would be expected of them in the role.
  • It gives Hiring Managers a clear indication as to what they should be asking their staff to do.
  • It helps to form a company record of the different jobs within the organisation.

The main points to bear in mind whilst writing your job description are as follows:

  • Describe the function and requirements of the job, not the function and requirements of the current jobholder.
  • The job description should be clear, objective and accurate. Don’t be unrealistic and make it a wish list of every task that may come in useful.
  • Limit the job description to no more than two pages long.

A good Scientific job description should include the following:

  • Title of the job
  • The purpose of the job
  • Where the role sits within the team, department and wider business
  • Who the role reports to, and other key interactions
  • Any supervisory duties
  • Key areas of responsibility and the deliverables expected
  • Short, medium and long-term objectives
  • Prospects for progression and promotion
  • Details of key job functions and requirements of the role
  • Required education and training
  • Hours of work, breaks.
  • Location and travel requirements
  • Salary range and benefits available
  • Convey the organisation’s culture and identity

Please note that, in conjunction with a Job Description, a Person Specification should be used to specify skills, experience and other personal attributes for the ideal candidate.

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