job order is a written record of an employer’s need to fill a vacant position with a qualified worker. You write a job order at the outset of the search to clearly identify what the position is and what type of person should fill it. It’s an internal document, which you’ll use to compose the job description and other recruiting materials.

You should start each search from scratch — and that includes writing the job order. This may seem counter-intuitive. Wouldn’t it be faster to just adapt the old job order for that position? In a word, no. Building each job order from the ground up is the quickest, most efficient, and most reliable method to find the right person to fill the position.

Your job order – whether you’re an internal HR professional or external recruiter contains the following information:

  • General information about the job and company
  • What the position entails
  • Compensation information
  • Why the job is open
  • Desired educational background of the new hire
  • Desired professional experience of the new hire
  • Desired management style and personal characteristics of the new hire
  • The company’s pattern of growth
  • How quickly the new hire should get up to speed
  • Keys to success in this position

So, how do you write a job order? It’s all about asking questions. But not just any questions — the right questions. And you must direct these questions to the right person: your client, the ultimate hiring authority.

Yes, the ultimate hiring authority is a busy person. And yes, you’ll take up a lot of her time asking these questions. But don’t feel weird about it. It’s way better to take up her time before the search than to take up even more later because you failed to get all the information you needed!

By asking these questions, you can ensure that you don’t enter the search with false assumptions, and that you identify important changes to the role since the last time the position was filled (assuming it’s not a new position). And in case you’re wondering, these are the same questions any reputable search firm would ask!

Whatever the answer, you want to actively — yet quietly — listen. Write everything down. Then explore the context of each answer. This is not a cross examination — you’re merely seeking clarity on the client’s thoughts.