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Why Job Briefs Shouldn’t be Brief

27 Feb 2018

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Job briefs come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from a quick call to your Talent Team with little more than a job title and a few bullet points, or completing a seemingly endless HR request form. Whatever the process, you will inevitably have to provide far more info than you thought, some of which wouldn’t have even crossed your mind yet – after all, you just want to hire someone, right? Wrong. You want to hire the right person, and without the necessary information, the chances of this happening are pretty slim.

While it may well be the bane of many a hiring manager’s life, the job brief is the foundation of a successful and pain-free recruitment process. Read on to find out why, and how to make them a little easier to swallow.

job brief


The Big Two: Time and Money

A decent job brief will save you time and money – it’s really that simple.

Imagine you’ve just decided to hire a new employee. You’ve had a couple of meetings about it, you have a pretty solid idea of what their responsibilities will be so the ball begins to roll. Applications are screened, headhunts are underway and a shortlist lands on your desk 10 days later… you don’t like any of them. Why hasn’t the Talent Team found the candidate of your dreams?! That’s easy – you didn’t tell them what you wanted! You then find yourself back at square one, briefing the Talent Team on your ideal candidate, and the search begins again. That’s 10 days you’re not getting back, and 10 days’ of poorly spent resources.

The same situation happens again as interviews begin and more people (and more opinions!) become involved in the process. Starting again after 10 days is costly, but starting again after first interviews is foolish.

Picture the perfect candidate from day one and spend the time writing a specific and accurate job brief (it’ll only take you half an hour!). You’ll save you thousands in unproductive resources, and shave weeks off the recruitment process.

precious time

Knowledge is Power

A common misconception is that job briefs are only for the benefit of the Talent Team. While the above example shows that this is undoubtedly true, an often overlooked aspect of a good job brief is the benefit it offers the hiring managers, too. Whether you’re a start-up trying to scale or an established business growing your team, stepping back to consider the bigger picture rarely happens as often as we’d like. But taking a moment to reflect on where the company is and where you see it going is exactly what a job brief makes you do.

Job briefs force you to ask the hard questions and think about your business priorities. They make you consider budgets and reporting lines, team dynamics and progression opportunities. They allow you to see where piece together the puzzle – highlighting roadblocks and guaranteeing a smoother process.

Does the manager have the capacity for another direct report?

What kind of personality would gel with the existing team?

Is there room in the budget for a permanent employee, or should you start with a contract?

Is this person needed right now, or 6 months down the line?

Answering these questions will minimise the risk of last-minute changes to the role, and allow your Talent Team to find the perfect candidate, rather than just a good candidate. When your vision for the role and the company are clear as day, the best talent will be knocking down your door and the shortlist of dreams will become a reality.

Ask the Right Questions

Convinced yet? Or still, want to know what a good job brief looks like? The Canda tribe have pondered this long and hard, so you don’t have to.

With our combined recruitment experience across big corps, startups and agencies, when it comes to job briefs we’ve seen it all.  We’ve been dying for something better – so here it is…  

Every job is different, but the basics remain the same:

• Why do you need this person?

• What will they be doing?

• How does this role fit within the wider company structure and vision?

• What separates a good candidate from a great candidate?

• How will the candidates be assessed?


Blend the answers with the facts and figures about the job – salary, perks, start date – and you’ve got yourself Job Brief 2.0.

As you’ve probably noticed, we’re all about the detail at Canda and we take job briefs pretty seriously! But they’re not the only element you need to consider for sh*t hot hiring. Does your process need a revamp and an eagle eye to fill in the gaps? Get in touch!