Think back to your interviewing days when you were a bright-eyed candidate looking for the perfect position. You’d applied for dozens of opportunities, all of them sound promising, when you got the call for an interview. The job description highlighted a Human Resources Generalist Position and you knew it would be a great place to jump in, but as the hiring managers discussed the responsibilities of the role with you in person, you realized that they were looking more for an administrative assistant than anything. You felt deflated, your heart was not in it anymore, you didn’t even want to go to the second interview that they invited you to. In short, you felt duped.
If you’ve ever been exposed to an inaccurate or misleading job description on your hunt for the right career, then you understand why an accurate one is so important.
Why Writing an Accurate Job Description is Important
An accurate job description has many key functions. Mainly, it sets the expectations for candidates early on, ensuring that you are attracting the right people to the position. Secondly, and continuing into the actual hiring of the candidate, the job description will allow your company to set performance milestones for the candidate while giving them all the tools they need to succeed in the position.
Allows You to Interview the Right Candidates
A clearly defined job description will contain multiple components that the ideal candidate should be able to identify with. Starting as early as the first “google”, candidates that fit the job description and are aware of their own experience will be able to easily find your position. Once they find you, the clarity of the rest should compel them to apply. Clarity is crucial.
Helps You Fill the Position Faster
Ever combed through dozens if not hundreds of applications, only to find a few potentials? This could be an indicator of a faulty job description. If you’ve set the expectation early on what the position will require, and have accurately defined the experience required, this should help you clear away unqualified or less-than-ideal candidates and fill the position faster.
Sets the Standard for Employee Review
Clearly define your standards and the qualifications for the role upfront and ensure that your candidate has all the tools they need to succeed. By defining a clear path for success, it will be much easier for you and your candidate/new hire to understand expectations and milestones. When the employee reviews come around, both parties should be able to easily identify where performance excelled and where it fell short.
Helps You Identify and Set Competitive Pay
If you’ve got the job title right, but you are offering 15k less than the industry standard, good luck hiring the top tier candidates. Make sure you do your research and identify the competitive pay range for the job title you’ve chosen. This factor is huge and could be the difference between hooking that ideal candidate and driving them away.
Ensures You Meet All Legal Requirements
An accurate job description will meet all The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) guidelines, and other legal requirements.
Now that you’ve got a basic understanding of what an accurate job description will do for your company, now it is time to explore how to write one accurately.
Apart from being an accurate depiction of what the job will be for the candidate, you also want to make sure you highlight the most appealing parts of the position. Remember, you are vying for the perfect candidate’s attention, so what makes your company stand out more than the others? It is also crucial to be clear, concise and detailed while avoiding fluffy or flowery language that could cause confusion and doesn’t create a clear picture for the candidate.
For more information, here are 5 more simple steps to creating the perfect job description.
Fundamentally, an accurate job description should contain the following,
The job title will likely be your candidates’ first impression of your company and the role. Therefore, it needs to be accurate and engaging. There are two things to consider when identifying the job title.
Will your ideal candidate find this title attractive/intriguing and
Will your job description appear when ideal candidates are searching for new positions (are you leveraging the best keywords?)
You must select a title with search in mind.
Once you have identified what your company is looking for, you need to define the official, internal job title and include that in your job description. While it may be fun to mix it up with words like ‘guru’, ‘rockstar’, ‘master’, ‘ninja’, etc. this practice actually deters candidates from applying.
In short, be accurate, be clear, and use really great keywords.
This section simply defines who the candidate will be reporting to directly (ex. The Digital Marketing Specialist will be reporting to the Digital Marketing Manager).
It is ok in this section, to show a little personality and highlight the culture of your company. Here you must speak the language of your ideal candidate and give a short but engaging ‘overview hook’.
Responsibilities and Duties
Clearly define the everyday responsibilities and duties expected of the candidate, but try to relay growth rather than simply listing tasks.
If it is a demanding position, make sure this is clear and that the salary is reflective of what the role will require. There are many candidates out there who are looking to challenge themselves and advance their skillset. Setting the expectations upfront and being clear and honest about them will ensure that you attract candidates who can handle the job.
This section can include things such as experience, educational background, certificates, software utilization, etc. Anything that your ideal candidate would need in order to be successful in the position (or willing to learn) should go here.
Job Description Examples:
Now it’s time to show you what an accurate job description looks like. For this, we will be looking for a hypothetical candidate to fill an HR Specialist position.
What works? There is no beating around the bush with this sample. It is right to the point and identifies key characteristics they are looking for in a candidate right upfront. The key duties are clear and easy to digest, they aren’t hidden with flowery words and flowing prose.
What works? This is another clear example, the ‘Responsibilities’ section, in particular, stands out. Notice how the list follows the same format, ‘create, manage, design, etc.’ candidates can review the requirements as they would a checklist. “Can I manage health and life insurance programs? Yes, Check. Can I track department budgets? Yes, check…and so on.
Now that you’ve seen a few effective examples, you are ready to try writing your own accurate job description. Remember, the end goal is to get an ideal client. They are looking at dozens of job postings, so how can you be straightforward and engaging?
Consider Working with a Recruitment Firm
Finding the right candidate for your organization starts with a solid and accurate job description. Stop digging through pile after pile of candidates that are not quite the right fit for your business. PeopleSuite can help you create a job description that will attract top-notch contacts. Our approach allows you to ‘get it right’ the first time, connecting you with candidates that will complete your business need, meaning you will experience less employee turnover. Focus on what you do best and let us handle hiring the best fit for your company.