Generally speaking, you are under no legal obligation to provide a job reference for an employee if they ask you for one. If you do make a reference as an employer, you must be fair and accurate. How do you write a job reference that is fair and accurate for a terrible employee? Does this put you at risk of being sued? Read on about how to write and understand fair job references, without putting...
Excessively high costs, unusual fluctuation, tension in the work place, and too many sick days – all these can be the results of the wrong choices being made when it comes to hiring employees. However, if the necessary requirements for an employee are defined in advance, positions can be filled by the “perfect” candidate, and the risk of making a wrong decision is reduced. The corresponding criteria needs to be included in the job profile.
What is a job profile?
The job profile is a part of the job description and is therefore aimed directly at potential applicants. In a job profile, the employer lists all the essential skills and abilities that an employee should have in order to apply for the advertised position. If an employee has these skills, they can achieve the best possible results in the relevant position.
By describing the skills as accurately and in as much detail as possible, there’s a much higher chance of suitable applicants contacting the company. If applicants don’t have a good idea of the desired qualifications, you’ll end up with numerous unsuitable candidates applying for the position. On the other hand, suitable candidates won’t consider a job advertisement that is too general and may refrain from applying.
The job profile is the result of a requirement analysis. First, the necessary qualities needed to perform a certain activity have to be determined. These analyses are relevant for numerous processes within the HR department. These include, for example, staff selection, staff development, or the introduction of employee evaluation systems.
Creating a job profile in four steps
When writing a job profile, it’s necessary to highlight the most important skills and abilities for the position in question. In order to express the requirements as comprehensively and accurately as possible, it is advisable to create the job profile in four steps:
- Analyse the task areas
- Collect requirement criteria
- Weight the requirement criteria
- Write the job profile
Analysing the task area
The job profile is based on the concrete tasks that the applicant is to perform later. These tasks therefore have to be defined at the beginning. The following questions can serve as a guide. The questions should be answered by the responsible manager, and, if necessary, by a department employee:
- Highlight tasks: what are the main tasks?
- Prioritise tasks: how important are the respective tasks?
- Define goals: which goals should the holder of this position achieve?
- Future developments: could the area of responsibility change in the future?
Collecting requirement criteria
The most important requirement criteria for potential applicants can then be derived from the answers given to the above questions. These requirements can be assigned to different fields. Basically, you should limit yourself to the most important requirements – those that are necessary for carrying out the tasks efficiently.
- Formal requirements: vocational training, degrees, work experience
- Technical requirements: skills, special knowledge such as language skills or IT knowledge
- Social and leadership skills: independence, assertiveness, or stress resistance
- Methodological skills: structured work, strategic thinking, or communication skills
- Personal requirements: reliability, flexibility, or conversation competence
Weighting the requirement criteria
After you have determined the necessary requirements, the next step should be to weight them. The best way to do this is to classify the competences and skills on a scale. A typical example would be marking the requirements from 1 to 6, where 1 could stand for “essential” and 6 for “not important.” Answering various questions can help you to weight the criteria. For example, always ask yourself how necessary a requirement really is in order to be able to optimally fulfil the tasks typical of the profession. Further meaningful questions are:
- Would it have an impact on the department or the company if one of these skills were missing?
- Could other employees compensate for the lack of certain competences and skills?
- Which requirements can subsequently be acquired easily and which more difficultly (e.g. through work experience or further training)?
Writing the job profile
Once you have determined and weighted all the requirements, you can create the job profile. The following structure is recommended for this:
- Summarise the formal requirements
- Formulate the technical requirements
- Present the methodical skills
- Present the social skills
This is an example for a job profile for a job as a marketing manager:
- A degree in economics or communication sciences with a focus on marketing or a comparable qualification
- You ideally have some professional experience in marketing or online marketing
- You have strong analytical skills
- You have a proactive and results-orientated way of working
- You have a high degree of initiative
- You have excellent communication skills and are persuasive
In our example, we adhered to the recommended structure for a job profile. First, the formal requirements for the applicant were included: a degree in economics or communication sciences with a focus on marketing or a comparable qualification, as well as initial professional experience in marketing/online marketing. In the next step, analytical thinking was mentioned as a technical requirement. In addition, the applicant should have a proactive and result-orientated way of working as well as a high degree of initiative (methodical skills). At the end of the job profile, social skills were requested: first-rate communication skills and a persuasive appearance.
A position is filled optimally if the job profile matches the applicant’s qualifications profile. However, a perfect match is rarely achieved. Therefore, you should specify the minimum requirements for an applicant and hire the candidate who matches the job profile best.