Un-picking job descriptions

I’m the girl that makes the thing*

That drills the hole

That holds the spring

That drives the rod

That turns the know

That works the thing-ummy bob

I’m the girl that makes the thing

That holds the oil

That takes the shank

That moves the crank

That works the thing-ummy bob

Job descriptions – those trick pieces of prose which, combined with the person specification, create the co-ordinates for find a perfect candidate for a specific role.  The girl in the Gracie Fields song probably had a whole lot of personality traits that extended beyond her technical abilities. She’s part of a team drilling, holding, driving and turning different components. She must be able to work with other people while also focussing on achieving high quality outcomes from her specific task. Given that the song was performed in 1942 she should also have had a positive outlook and buckets of optimism (the second part of the song title is “… that’s going to win the war”.) She also probably didn’t have to leap through too many hoops to get the job.

Nowadays HR departments and line managers spend a lot of time honing the job description and, while there is a tendency to ask the person to be all things to all people, it’s really worth looking at the detail. Work out what the most important features of the job are and then be sure that you put them towards the beginning of your CV or covering letter. Don’t make the recruiter have to dig too deep to find a reason to interview you.


*Written by Heneker Thompson, performed by Gracie Fields


Image of thing-ummy bob from http://interestinganimation.blogspot.co.uk/2011_01_01_archive.html


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