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Human resources: recruitment and selection
Human resources: recruitment and selection

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4.4 Job description

From your analysis of the job you can write a job description which will state what the job holder is responsible for and what they are required to do (see Example 1 ).

Example 1: Job description for a Buying Manager

Job title: Buying Department Manager

Job grade: 10

Responsible to: Contracts Manager

A: Summary of main responsibilities and activities

  • Has overall responsibility for procurement of contracts for both direct orders and subcontracts, including negotiating terms and conditions with suppliers, initiating enquiries, analysing quotations, with detailed involvement in very large or complex orders.

  • Liaises with Estimating and Engineering departments for technical and cost information; makes recommendations on selection of suppliers.

  • Responsible for preparation of contracts.

  • Arranges storage of material for delayed contracts.

  • Responsible for inspection and expedition of orders to ensure that material, plant and equipment meet the specifications for the job and are available when required. Issues inspection and test reports to the client.

  • Authorises payment to suppliers and subcontractors.

  • Negotiates increased costs with suppliers in association with Contracts Manager.

B: Specific responsibilities

1. Staff

  • Direct: Responsible for Senior Buyer, Buyer, Assistant Buyer, Senior Expediter.

  • Indirect: Responsible for selection, training, development and appraisal of all buying and inspection staff in liaison with Contracts Manager.

2. Assets

  • Recommends selection of suppliers and equipment.

3. Planning

  • Plans allocation and organisation of work in Contract Buying and Expedition Department.

  • Provides advice to Contracts Manager during contract planning.

4. Technical decisions

  • Recommends selection of suppliers and subcontractors on the basis of commercial considerations.

5. Financial

  • Responsible for negotiating terms and conditions with suppliers and subcontractors, up to £150,000.

  • Ensures that all orders are executed within Estimators’ budget.

  • Recommends authorisation of final payments to suppliers and subcontractors.

6. Confidential information

  • Prices, discounts, profit margins and similar commercial information.

7. Degree of supervision

  • Works within the broad directives of Contracts Manager. Reports monthly on deviations in terms of cost, time, quality, etc.

8. Contacts

  • Liaises with Head Office staff, for example Contracts Manager, Project Engineer, Design Engineers.

  • Suppliers and subcontractors.

  • Clients (occasional).

  • Site staff.

9. Working conditions

  • Head Office based, in city centre; fortnightly visits to suppliers.

  • Pace of work is often demanding, working with strict time pressures; involves overall responsibility for a large number of contracts simultaneously.

10. Organisational requirements

  • Must be flexible and able to work on own initiative. Must be able to work as part of a team and to interact effectively with external contacts.

(Source: Cowling and Mailer, 1981, pp. 12–13)

Example 1 is a comprehensive description, setting out a full range of responsibilities. There is no one right way of setting out job descriptions and you may find that the ones used in your organisation look different and may be less detailed in comparison. An accurate job description has various uses outside the recruitment process: for example, it can be used to review staff performance in appraisals or to assess training needs when someone new starts with the organisation. Within the recruitment process, the job description leads on to the next stage of specifying the type of person you are looking for to fill your vacancy.