Cover letter image for blogWhen hiring staff you want to be clear on the task, duties or responsibilities that will be undertaken, whilst also taking into account the education, skills, experience and attributes you require from the individual. By clarifying the requirement you can ensure self-confidence not only throughout the hiring process but also for your new employee’s commencement and retention in the business. In fact the position description is the single most valuable document you can create while hiring staff.

Director of Harvest Recruitment, Maree Herath‘s short video on “What’s in a Position Description” addresses this key HR topic.

To gain the most benefit from a position description it should include the following:

The Title

What is the role

Who does the person in the role report to?

This clarifies where this position sits in the organisation overall

Who reports to this role?

Does the role have any management authority. If so what roles will be reporting in.

Key Purpose or Scope

Why the role is there? Here you explore the function the role serves in the organisation. A spin on this is how does it help the team, division and organisation achieve its goals.


Here we are getting into the day to day activities. This is the task list for the individual performing lots. It is important to list all the activities as verbs or action words.

Budget authority

Does the role hold any authority for spending or delivery of a budget

Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)

Managers will have key elements that when established are a strong indication that a staff member is achieving. The inclusion of KPI’s is important as KPIs help clarify deliverables as well as what outcomes are expected of the role. By including these elements managers can ask prospective employees to share examples of delivery to these or similar KPI’s. Once the incumbent has commenced you can manage them based on the delivery of these KPI’s

Special Relationships

This relates to the people within and external to the organisation that the employee will interface with, what positions and who specifically will they interact with to do their role successfully. Again once defined it can be asked as an interview question to determine the degree of overlap.


What formal qualifications are required. These could include tertiary, trade, vocational or high school education. Also there may be role specific courses or certificates desired. Alternatively further qualifications through industry bodies may be sought.


Skills are defined as something that can usually be demonstrated, for example software skills, word-processing skills, driving and cooking are demonstrable skills that could be tested if required.


Often people coming into a new role will possess relevant experience from other roles. For example they will have worked in an office workplace previously


Attributes should not be overlooked. If you are hiring a permanent staff member then it is not just a matter of gaining skills, qualifications, and experience which match. It is important that a person possess the right temperament for your organisation. Importantly, and I would go as far as to say vitally, they need to have a values overlap with the culture of your organisation.

Many proactive managers hire well on skills, but many people depart because of a cultural mismatch or a nonalignment of values


It is important that both you and the prospective employee consider the salary for the role. Are you on an award? Are you paying on or over the award? Many organisations list the desired requirements for a role, yet fail to supply any salary insights with regard to the role

Once you define the role there are many salary surveys or even recruitment consultants available which will help guide you. Don’t get too caught up on the numbers as it is okay to keep this aspect open and determine the salary expectations of the candidates you interview. That way you can determine if you are open to offering a similar package to what they desire

By using the components listed above you can develop a positive and informative position description for every position in your company that will help you as you advertise, screen and select your next employee and then manage them effectively into the future.

MareeHarvest Recruitment offers specific training for Hiring Managers on “How to Write a Position Description”. To learn more or to see what other services you can access contact HarvestHR on 1300 363 128 or visit

Article written by Maree Herath, Recruitment Trainer and Director of Harvest Recruitment

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