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How to write a great job spec

A job specification outlines the essential components of a job and is the first opportunity for you to sell your business and job role to the candidate. The war for talent is becoming an ever-increasing factor as the East Midlands job market, in particular, goes from strength to strength, meaning candidates often have several jobs opportunities to choose from. Producing a poor job spec may hinder your opportunity of attracting the best candidate.

Follow our recommended format to ensure you attract the best talent every time:

1. Introduce the business

This is the first opportunity for the candidate to understand your business. Describe what you do, the sector you operate in and your core values. Finance professionals will also want to understand the numbers so make sure you include the size of business (turnover and number of employees).

Try to be different! Include any charity work, social events and other unique selling points about working for your business.

2. State who the role reports to

Often a candidate accepts a job because of the rapport they build with the hiring manager, however, most businesses don’t put any information about them on the job spec. Describe the line manager, their background and include a link to their Linkedin profile. This allows the candidate to develop a relationship with your staff and business very early on.

3. Explain the job role

A short paragraph to describe an overview of why the role has come around, where it sits within the organisation and the overall general purpose of the role. Describe the key responsibilities. This should be in bullet point form; typically the 8 to 10 key aspects of the role. Use as much detail as possible and include any interesting projects the candidate will be involved with.

4. Describe the department and future opportunities

It is important for the candidate to understand the department they will be working in and how it links to the overall success of the business. What is the culture like, how many people work in the immediate team and is it a sub-team that is part of the wider finance function. What are the opportunities for the candidate to progress in the medium and long term? Will there be the opportunity to move in to different department within the organisation?

5. State the required skills and qualifications

Including the relevant skills and experience needed for a job role allows you to narrow down your ideal candidate. Try to keep it concise (4/5 key bullet points). Things to include may be qualifications (AAT / CIMA / ACCA / ACA Qualified or Part Qualified or Qualified by Experience), specific systems experience, level of Excel skills required (be specific e.g. vlookups, pivots, macros), stakeholders engagement / communication skills.

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