Expanding Your Team? Make An Amazing Role Description!Oct 28, 2021
So, what is a role description and why do you need one?
This guide is mostly about creating role descriptions for new team members you've already brought on, where you want to cement and clarify their role in the organisation, or if you're hiring and posting a Job ad somewhere like LinkedIn Jobs.
A role description is just that - a description which details the roles and responsibilities that someone will undertake in your organisation.
If you're hiring, this obviously helps attract applicants for potential team members.
Once on your team, this helps differentiate between the roles of each team member and establish
Overall, it helps everyone be as clear as possible about each person's responsibilities to avoid confusion.
According to Indeed.com, the following structure creates a great and clear role description:
Job Title - This is quite simply what the role's title is. The person would be given that title and so it should help both them and other people understand what they do and their area of expertise.
Job description - A paragraph highlighting the key elements of the role, why it's important to the organisation, and maybe even a bit of detail about the kind of person you're looking for. This could also be structured so that anyone else reading it knows what this person would do, without necessarily needing to have a whole description in front of them. Here are some great examples we found on a company website.
Job responsibilities - A bullet point list of exactly what the team member will be expected to do. This can go into as much or as little depth as you want, but you should add as much depth here as you can to make it as clear as possible the regular tasks and responsibilities that will be expected of someone.
Examples might include:
- Lead a team of sales associates...
- Provide quality customer service...
- Manage schedules for floor staff...
- Prepare marketing campaigns with clients...
- Handle the cash and take it to the bank...
- Or any other regular task that someone would be expected to do regularly!
Requirements - This is more specific to the role descriptions that are for potential team members, as there won't be a requirement for someone you already have on your team. Again, make a simple bullet point list of what kinds of experiences, knowledge, and skills that the individual needs to have.
The areas you could include (depending on how relevant they are to the role) are:
- Academic achievements, such as a relevant/necessary degree.
- A certain amount of experience in this job, such as at least one year in the field.
- The type of character traits and personality/energy they have, eg "A friendly and warm personality" or "a trustworthy and communicative team player".
- Certain abilities and attributes, such as "the ability to work in fast-paced environments" or even physical requirements such as being a certain height (again, this is only if required for the job, in many places, it's illegal to ask for anything that isn't necessary for the role).
- Skills they need, such as management, problem-solving, or language skills.
Reports to - A simple line about the role of the person who they directly report to us. For example, a Community Manager might report to the Head of Community who would set their tasks, objectives, targets, and look after their needs on the job. As a founder of a small business, this person may likely be you.
Now all of this is well and good. But, as anyone who's gone job hunting before has seen, a good number of jobs have role descriptions that don't seem to follow this structure at all. So why is that, and how can you make your more interesting or suitable for your organisation.
Making It Suited To Your Organisation
Your description can be friendly, welcoming, and upbeat. Showing some personality is becoming very common, and as a young business and an entrepreneur, we'd argue that would be an important part of finding the right people and forming a connection with them for you.
Of course, it still needs to be very specific so that you get great applications, because applications must know exactly what they’re applying to.
If you need help, you can always look online for similar descriptions to draw inspiration!
It's also briefly worth mentioning finances. Of course, if you’re using this role description just to clarify responsibilities for a current team member, once again it wouldn't need to include the salary because it isn't relevant at that point.
However, if it's for a job posting, then it's very helpful to applications if you list how much the position pays. Typically, employers list the pay for hourly jobs or jobs that have fewer requirements. Sometimes where salary is negotiated, a range might be displayed. And of course, if it's part-time, voluntary, or just on a contract basis, then being clear about that is required to get the trust of your applicants and find the right ones.
A lot of the tips in here are important for one main reason: you want the person who is just right for you and your organisation.
If someone doesn't suit your culture, or isn't experienced enough, or doesn't have the right character and therefore becomes a hindrance, or even expects too much that you won't actually deliver on because you didn't communicate the role properly, then you're in for a world of difficulty.
And if the description is for someone you already have on board, then being very clear about what's expected helps avoid many potential problems down the road.
Some other quick tips:
- Keep it gender-neutral so anyone would feel comfortable applying. For example, use the “they” pronoun. (Again, aside from necessary situations, which are often rare, such as a carer for a care home for women, or an actor for the casting of a specific character).
- Keep everything in the present tense.
- Explain every aspect of the job - this means details such as who the employee will work with, what skills they’ll need and what programs or tools they’ll use to complete the work.
But how do you feel about these? What are you hiring for? Let us know on our social media!
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