Could this be you? A fresh look at person specifications

I am recruiting new Wellbeing Teams in Wigan in two phases. I am starting with the Practice Coaches, the Team Coaches, and the Community Circle Connectors, who will be supporting the teams. When they are in place, they will help us recruit the Wellbeing Teams. These are not typical roles, and the first step is to be able to clearly communicate the who we want to recruit and what the role is. We use a summary of the essence of the role, and then what it means in detail, and instead of a person specification we use the one-page profile format of ‘Could this be you?’.

I asked Neil for his advice.

“Wow! This is me.”

Neil: ‘For me the process of scoping the person specification and Job Description should involve an existing post-holder, if you have one, as it needs a personal ‘voice’ and has to stand out to suitable applicants. They need to think “Wow! This is me.” It’s great that you are so clear who you are looking for already.

I can’t think of the number of Job Descriptions I have read which leave me cold. I didn’t take more than the first sentence in and neither will applicants. This is a great opportunity, one of the first you have with prospective new starters, to communicate the culture and values of the organisation, so that needs to come across.

One of the things that is so exciting about Wellbeing Teams is the empowerment implicit in every role. I would really want to emphasise that with these person specifications and Job Descriptions and that they can be part of something very special. I love the idea of asking “Could this be you?”. Too many times employers in social care over-emphasise previous paid care experience and infer, or explicitly say, that previous experience is a pre-requisite.”

A different way of thinking about a person-specification – Could this be you?

We have created a ‘Could this be you’ which is based around a one-page profile looks like this:

Community Circle Connector

What people like about you:

You are warm, friendly, reliable, full of energy, a great listener, flexible, a good problem-solver, helpful, honest, trustworthy, confident, self-motivated, caring, generous, kind and you have a can-do attitude.

What matters to you:

  • You want to work as part of an innovative organisation and be part of a self-organised team.
  • You love sharing stories and you are enthusiastic about using a range of social media.
  • You enjoy facilitating small groups in any sort of setting.
  • Your community: you enjoy knowing your local neighbourhood, and being connected to what is happening locally – whether that is as a member of local groups, or just being in touch with your neighbours.
  • Making a difference: you love to know that you are making a difference in people’s lives, and making a positive difference in the world, however small this may be. You are committed to social justice.
  • Trying new things and being up for a challenge: you love having a go, trying something new, are up for
  • Learning new technology, and having variety in your life and work.
  • Being busy: you are not one for standing still or being bored. You love being on the go. You have lots of interests and hobbies (when you have the time!).
  • Being flexible and using your initiative: you would hate to do the same job in the same way every day and love variety and you are a bit of a risk taker.
  • Taking responsibility: you are happiest working in a supportive and connected team making decisions together and trying new ideas.

How we will support you:

  • You will be part of a small self-organised team with the Wellbeing Leader, Practice Coach, Team Coach and other Community Circle Connectors, who you will get to know well
  • You will spend time together to think, plan and make decisions in team meetings every week or fortnight
  • We provide you with the right training and support to carry out your role – brilliantly!
  • You will be given a Community Circles Connector Handbook that has all the information about how your role works
  • In your induction, your team will develop its own Person-Centred Team Plan which describes what matters to you as a team and how you work together.
  • You will not have a traditional manager; you will receive support and direction from your team and from the Wellbeing Advisor for Community Circles.
  • You will be part of the Community Circles Community of Practice that meets four times a year.

Neil: This is a really refreshing approach to clarifying and describing a person specification. We know from successful recruitment advertising that the more we focus on the reader and their needs, the higher the response from suitable applicants. It is very engaging and communicates that the organisation both values its employees and is always thinking of how to support them to do the best job they can. I am sure this will speak to the right types of candidates as well as being a meaningful reference during their employment.

The advert is now live – you can see it here. Please share our advert with anyone who may be interested. If you have not read Neil’s book, Savind Social Care yet, you can get it here.

In our next blog we look at a role descriptions in how to involve the existing role holders in doing this.

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