Jobbio’s Kirstie McDermott explains how to write a great job spec and attract the best talent.
We all know a bad job advertisement when we see one: it’s either really, really long (or way too short), does absolutely nothing to explain what the job actually, you know, is, and then to add insult to injury, ends with a 20-line bulleted list of duties and responsibilities that appear to have been copied and pasted from three entirely different job specs. Because, clearly they’re not expecting you to know how to do all of those things, are they!?
Writing a really good job spec, on the other hand, is a bit of alchemy mixed with secret sauce. However, with a few tips and tricks, it’s also very doable. Here’s how:
Include a clear, concise job title
Is the role entry-level, junior or senior? Does it come with a title attached – for example, consultant or manager? Be as clear as you can with the title of the job – for example, ‘senior hair stylist’ does the trick, whereas ‘beauty consultant’ is a bit more ambiguous.
Getting this right matters, because it is literally what prospective candidates will enter into a search box to find a role that suits their skills. Plus, vague job titles will also lower your rank in search engines.
Make it personal
It can be hard to get out of the mindset of thinking as a business and writing from that perspective but try to look at the job spec from the point of view of the person who will be reading it. You want to help candidates visualise themselves in the role you’re advertising, so that they can get excited about it. Use “you” instead of “they”, so instead of using language such as, “they will be responsible for”, use something like, “you’ll be dedicated to providing training to all team members”. This immediately helps the person see themselves doing the job.
Give clear company information
While you know your company inside and out, not every prospective candidate will. Make sure that you provide clear information about your business and what it does. This is particularly relevant if your company is small or starting out. Make sure to include some detail about your mission (or your company’s values), and what products or services you offer. This helps candidates understand if your business is a fit for them. You should also briefly explain your current hiring need – for example, “as we expand, we are opening a new location in X and we are now looking for technicians and stylists for this new salon”.
Where will this new role sit?
Many prospective candidates want to understand where they’ll fit into the company if they come on board. Explaining where the job fits in can tell a candidate a couple of things: if the organisational structure is hierarchical or flat, and whether they’ll have a team around them to offer support and advice. It’s a good idea to add a line or two explaining who the job will report directly to, and what team they will be working within, if that applies.
Explain the tasks and responsibilities
Every job has a list of tasks that employees will carry out. Try to avoid listing every single thing you can think of, including those tasks that may only be undertaken a couple of times a year. A very long list of responsibilities could put candidates off, or send the message that your company micromanages its employees. Aim to include only the tasks that involve the regular, daily or weekly workload of the position.
List the role’s requirements
Brevity is key here. Again, it can be tempting to ask for the moon from candidates but it is best to stick to the actual skills that are required to do the job. Try to avoid generic statements such as “must be able to work in a fast-paced environment”, and instead tailor that towards your specific business – for example, “you must have proven experience of working in a busy city-centre salon”. Do you have particular requirements around shifts and weekends, and are there specific certifications the role requires? List them here.
Explain the benefits on offer
In order of importance, add a list of the benefits you offer your employees, including paid holidays, pension contributions, health insurance, opportunities for learning and development on the job, and any other benefits you offer.
While some companies will add a specific salary or a salary range to their job advertisements, not all do. It can be a very useful way for candidates to quickly and easily narrow down their job searches and find your particular ad – so it is worth thinking about.
If you want to post your job to our Professional Beauty Job Board, get in touch today.
And if you’re more interested in exploring your career potential, browse all the open positions waiting for your application.
This article was produced in partnership with Jobbio.
Kirstie works for our job board partner, Jobbio. Based in Dublin, she has been a writer and editor across print and digital platforms for over 15 years.
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