When putting together a job description it is crucial to establish what your precise requirements are. It sounds obvious, but the number and calibre of applicants will largely depend upon the quality of your description. Potential candidates need sufficient information to determine whether they are suitably skilled to apply. Working out your requirements can also help you determine whether you need to hire someone on a part-time or full-time basis.

Ensure that the job description is explicit in its wording and avoid ambiguity. Make it concise and targeted. Even if you need someone to be adaptable as the business grows, it still helps to be clear about the aims and those of the company.

Consider the following points when drawing up a job description:

    * Determine salary: consider the level of the job, relative seniority, skills and required experience. See National Statistics online at www.statistics.gov.uk for latest earnings figures and read relevant trade press to benchmark salary levels and benefits in your industry.

    * Job title: ensure the job accurately reflects the role. Misleading titles can lead to the wrong kind of candidates and misperceptions of the position on offer.

    * Location and hours: determine the core working hours and outline whether any travelling will be required.

    * Hierarchy and reporting lines: how will the role fit into the current organisational structure and what will the reporting line be?

    * Role overview: summarise the key objectives of the job.

    * Functional responsibilities: detail the key responsibilities of the position, identifying the regular and occasional tasks.

    * Competencies: outline the key competencies required and any competencies that might be required in future as the role develops.

    * Deliverables: identify the key deliverables, detailing how performance will be measured and outlining specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound (SMART) objectives.

    * Education, experience, skills: define what is essential and desirable for the post.

    * Person specification: examine the styles and values of the current team and determine what qualities you are looking for in the new recruit and how these will complement existing strengths.

A good job description can be used throughout the employee's tenure, helping both employer and employee to assess development and growth.