Job descriptions are an unavoidable evil – and can be the bane of existence for a Hiring Manager or HR employee. Most of the time, you need to hire someone yesterday, so a job description gets thrown together haphazardly in order to get it posted ASAP. But… have you ever considered that this could be the sole reason that you are not able to hire the candidates you want and need? The job description is the first interaction your prospective talent has with your job, and in many cases, your company. If it doesn’t get their attention or speak to them on a personal level, it’s on to the next one! When you break it down, there are 4 basic parts to the job description, and there is a trick to optimizing each one:
1. Engaging Introduction
This is where so many companies miss the mark. This is your opportunity to grab the attention of your reader and highlight why they should want to work in this position at your company. Instead of giving a straight forward overview of the duties and the history of the company, think outside the box! Candidates are all about transparency and authenticity these days. According to the LinkedIn Global Talent Trends Report, 66% of candidates care most about a company’s culture and values when considering a job change. And they don’t just want a canned answer – but an honest perspective. “Give a real picture of the company’s working environment, not the usual made-in-heaven company profile.”
Some of the things you can include in your introduction are the team makeup, current exciting projects, volunteer opportunities, and fun quirks about the position or company. Do you do donut meetings every Friday morning? Head out to Habitat for Humanity once a year? Maybe you just finished a big design project and are looking for some hands-on implementation. Talk about your company’s journey – the hurdles you’ve overcome, your major accomplishments, and your big-picture dreams and goals.
2. In-Depth Description of Job
Seems pretty self-explanatory that a job description should include a description of the job – right? Well, you don’t want to include just any checklist of duties. You want your candidates to imagine what it would be like to affect change in your organization, not just “run daily reports, participate in weekly meetings, and utilize company software.”
Use the meat of the job description to not only explain what they’ll be doing, but how it will affect the company as a whole. How do their day-to-day actions tie into the success of their team? Essentially – explain why this job is important. For example, upgrade “participate in weekly meetings,” to “participate in weekly strategy sessions to determine program effectiveness and develop new ideas and solutions.
Controversial opinion time – don’t include too many qualifications or requirements that are too strict. You don’t want to limit your candidate pool just because you said the ideal candidate needs 6 years of experience when there are hundreds of impressive candidates that have 5 years of experience. More and more, companies are adopting the philosophy “hire for attitude, train for skill.” There are so many candidates that could make a huge impact at your company that you might be missing out on due to a long laundry list of requirements.
Of course, include the absolute must-haves for the job. Then, include the skills and experience that you desire; (it helps candidates find your job!) But consider leaving out limiting numbers or super specific details.
4. Contact Information And Next Steps
I understand that not every company or hiring manager can include their direct contact information. But it can be a very powerful tool! When a candidate sees an actual name/phone number/email tied to a job description – it creates an instant connection. It makes the job description feel more tangible when there is an actual human behind it!
Another option is to give a brief overview of the interviewing and hiring process. We will be calling prospective candidates on this date, conducting interviews during this week, and hiring our newest team member by this date. You can even give them tips on preparing for the interview. Knowing what to expect will give your candidates more confidence in applying – and they will have something to look forward to!