How to Write Business Analysis Job Descriptions to Achieve Quality Candidate Flow
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What information is often missing from job descriptions? Typically, quite a lot! The attention to detail via job descriptions is one of the most undervalued aspects of the hiring process, and one of the biggest roadblocks to getting the quality candidate flow you want. Do you view job descriptions as an important first impression of your team and the company? You should because they often are. Yet most job descriptions read like requirements checklists, are too broad to really understand what the role is doing, are confusing and/or simply communicate no value to the job seeker around how it will challenge them, help them grow, or excite them!
We asked some of our top leaders who support Business Analysts and hiring Managers “what details are often missing from Business Analysis/BSA/PO/PM type job descriptions that shouldn’t be?”
Here are the key details they shared that tend to be missing:
- Project/product details! The general business analysis job description and responsibilities tend to be very similar from company to company, so what really separates one business analysis position from another and makes it more interesting and intriguing to the candidate is a good understanding of the project/product that they will be working on.
- The documentation and/or deliverables they will be responsible for, as well as the approaches and requirements gathering techniques your team commonly follows.
- The makeup of the team and key stakeholders they will be working with.
- The actual tools they are going to be leveraging (and periphery tools that may be used).
- Metrics. Size, scale, scope, budget, number of end users, etc. It’s hard to paint an accurate picture, and demonstrate impact, without context, which is more apparent when you’re including some metrics.
- Details on methodologies, approaches and/or processes. How a team operates is often a make or break for candidates, so include some specific practices if you’re able.
Ensure each description answers these questions, which are typically asked by candidates in the market:
- What is the purpose of the project/product and what is the business analysis professional’s role within that initiative? Focus on the big picture beyond execution, i.e., things that will get a candidate excited about the opportunity/future of the role.
- What is the stage of the project? Or, if working on a product team, is this a brand-new product, existing product, about to be released, etc.?
- What technologies will they be working with?
- Which stakeholders/groups will they be supporting?
- Who will they be working alongside?
- What type of documentation is needed (BRDs (Best practices for Requirements Documentation), FRDs (Functional Requirements Document), Use Cases, Diagrams/Mapping, etc.)?
- What methodology/framework/practices are followed?
- Which specific documentation, virtual collaboration, and other tools are used?
- What are the perks and benefits of the position? Remote work, gym reimbursement, healthcare, 401k, stock options, flexible hours, upward mobility, company culture, training & development opportunities, etc. There are so many things outside of the job itself that are important factors for candidates when considering a position, so including some intriguing perks of the position and company goes a long way.
Here are 5 additional tips we encourage:
- Communicate your company definition of a business analysis role. What we have found as recruiters is that companies often define their role of business analysis differently from one another. Some want more functional versus technical business analysts, and sometimes there are hybrid responsibilities involved including QA (Quality Assurance), PM (project managers), Data Analysis, Systems Analysis, etc. Thus, is important to outline what is expected of the Business Analyst along with their day-to-day responsibilities.
- Get input from other Business Analysts on your team/at your organization. What does a day in the life really look like? What are the top 2-3 responsibilities? What are the main tools they use / practices they follow? How does working on your team differ from other places they’ve worked? What do they value/appreciate about working on your team and at your company?
- Include as much detail as possible about the type of business analysis professional you are looking for. Instead of “looking for a business analyst with documentation experience” there should be mention of what type of documentation they are doing (user stories, use cases, workflow diagrams, etc.). Will they be technical or functional? Will they need to build queries whether basic or complex?
- Don’t just focus on a laundry list of requirements for the perfect candidate as you may scare great candidates away. Make sure you are truly delineating between the minimum “must have” requirements vs. “nice to have” requirements. For instance, if you are looking for a business analyst to work on an SAP implementation project but your primary need is for a well-rounded business analyst, don’t make SAP a hard requirement because you are greatly limiting the candidate pool that could be very interested and qualified for the role.
- Be wary of setting a defined number of years of experience required. It’s generally better to define by Junior, Mid, and Senior. Recruiters and candidates often put too much stock in an exact minimum in years of experience and the quality and seniority of a business analyst is not always defined solely by tenure.
Download this Sample Business Analysis Job Description to get you started.
About the Author:
Wendy Harris is Executive Delivery Manager at Apex Systems. Connect with her on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/wendy-harris-white-a1611b15/
- Cate Murray - https://www.linkedin.com/in/catemurraypmp/
- Claire Mathews - https://www.linkedin.com/in/claire-mathews-7533164/
- Erica Woods - https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericawoods/
- Jamie Allen - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamie-allen-744b204a/
- Patrick McCrary - https://www.linkedin.com/in/patrick-mccrary-lion-83a191123/
- Steven Meyer - https://www.linkedin.com/in/steven-meyer-86b5052/