Why is it important to invest time in creating an effective About the Job?

The Role of the About the Job

The About the Job is an important document in the recruitment and selection of staff and their ongoing employment relationship with the University. An effective About the Job:

  • provides applicants with essential information about the job which they can use to self select in or out of the application process.
  • an accurate job description and person specification are essential to help attract quality applications and reduce the number of irrelevant applications.
  • provides you with a robust basis on which to plan a thorough effective assessment action
  • provides evidence of fair and transparent recruitment and selection process founded on solid, job-based criteria, not unfair discrimination.
  • helps facilitate the e-Recruitment process and minimise turnaround times
  • gives both the recruiting manager and the appointee a clear starting point to work from at induction and future development reviews.

Without an effective About the Job document in place at the initial stage of your recruitment and selection planning, you will increase the risk of:

  • delaying the initial authorisation process and slowing down e-Recruitment turnaround times as incorrect documentation cannot be actioned
  • receiving irrelevant applications due to an inaccurate job description/person specification, thereby wasting applicants' time and increasing your time commitment to considering potentially a large number of low quality applications
  • making a poor quality appointment as candidates must be assessed on areas relevant to the post in question, not a "cut and paste" of a previous post which has different needs
  • vulnerability to a legal challenge of discrimination if you do not have a clear audit trail on the key requirements of a job and how these will be assessed within a robust, planned selection process.

Why can't I just use the same About the Job as last time?

It is important to invest in each job in its own right and create an About the Job that matches its needs exactly. It can be helpful to seek ideas from looking at versions produced for similar jobs within your department, faculty or across the University, but be aware that any information contained within the final document must be related specifically to the post in question.

A "cut and paste" approach of simply using an earlier version without reviewing it fully can lead to difficulties later in the recruitment and selection process, including unfair discrimination and possibly a poor appointment decision. Such difficulties can potentially be both time-consuming and have wide reaching negative impact. You are strongly advised to invest the time and effort at this initial stage in order to secure a good appointment to your vacancy.

About the Job – Essential Action Checklist

  • Always download the current version of the About the Job Template for every job. See link on the right for more information.
  • Consider each job afresh – use previous About the Jobs to generate ideas, not as automatic cut and paste content.
  • Be confident that the job description provides a clear and illustrative picture of the role as the About the Job will be used as part of future employment action.
  • Ensure that the person specification is accurate and fair and can be used to measure candidates against effectively via different methods of selection.
  • Have all content in the correct format in place prior to entering the e-Recruitment system.

Further information

  • Step-by-step guidance on creating the About the Job document is available within the Guidance Notes for Recruiting Departments
  • General queries and advice from your customary Human Resources contact and from your Recruitment & Selection Network contact within your department. See contact list link on the right