Whether you are posting it on a job board or a recruiter is directing traffic to it, job descriptions are an influential part of the hiring process.
Yet so many people get it wrong!
Over and over I read the same boring “duties are…” or “candidate must have…” Which is followed by the driest descriptions that completely miss the mark at presenting a clear understanding of the role!
What are the REAL job responsibilities and expectations?!
Seems obvious, right? The purpose of a job description is literately to describe the job. But so many descriptions give an incomplete picture of the role. Sometimes job descriptions only give general ideas like “can work in a fast-paced environment” and “works well in teams.”
What?! Are we talking quick and efficient or understaff? Are there small teams or are you talking about the company as a “team?”
Other job descriptions go WAY overboard into excessive responsibilities that are NOT reasonable. I’ve seen entry level positions ask for “ample experience” in every single line time. If you want ample experience, then it is no longer entry level. Period.
Before beginning a job description, outline what the REAL job responsibilities include. Rather than focus on what an ideal candidate CAN do (which again gives the impression you are asking for a higher level person then you are willing to pay for), focus on simply describing the actual job.
Requirements vs Wants
Have you read things like….
Associate level position: Required 5 years experience.
Mid-Senior position: Required 10+ years working within our direct industry.
Because I have! First of all, years of experience isn’t the best way to measure knowledge or competencies. Second of all, asking for things like direct industry experience or high knowledge is NOT going to remove your responsibility to train and onboard new people.
So please stop pretending you can find someone who will need zero training.
Instead, focus on what the actual requirements are for the job. Do you require at least a bachelor’s degree? Maybe you would prefer a masters, but that will hit the preferred list rather than the required list.
Required items should include core competencies and any behaviors needed for success like “high autonomy” if the role requires it. The key word here is requires it: the candidate could not be successful in the role without these items. All of the other preferences should be listed as “preferred.” This gives candidates insights to what you ultimately want, without stating it is a must-have.
Doing this will give you better odds attracting top talent and a more diversified candidate pool.
The Ask and the Offer
This part of job descriptions is almost nonexistent. Over 90% of job descriptions ONLY have the ask: what the company wants in the candidates, but completely skips the offer!
Joining a company is a two-way street. I see it over and over with companies finding the PERFECT candidate, and after all of that time and effort with interviews, applications, projects, etc…the offer is made, and it is wildly different from the candidate’s expectations.
Giving an idea of the offer from the beginning is just good business.
Think of it like buying a house…the listing price is a guide. We know this. There is room to negotiate that listing price and other items like repairs and close dates. But if your realtor showed you a house for 1.2 million that was PERFECT for your wants, but your budget is 500k, you just went through the time and energy considering something you couldn’t actually consider.
Jobs are no different. Give people the guidelines BEFORE they spend hours applying and writing cover letters and interviewing.
You NEED to sell yourself a bit
In today’s business environment, if you want to hire top talent, you also need to sell yourself a bit. Top talent is rarely unemployed. Many cities and regional areas are sitting below 2% unemployment. They have more jobs than people! So if you want someone to leave their current role, you will need to sell them on why they should work for you.
What is in it for them to join your organization?
This is the same principle as writing a great sales email or making a great cold call, you need a strong ask and offer.
Watch your verbiage!
- Fast-paced work environment = understaffed, under funded, over worked, under paid.
- Unlimited Vacation / Time off = maybe a great place, MAYBE its easy to offer because people are too busy to actually use it.
- Work Hard – Play Hard = unrealistic, people are probably tired, bro culture, forced friendships, company expects every bit of your life.
- Jack of all trades = lack of defined process, understaffed, probably lacking training, no mentorship.
With all of this said, the end conclusion is you need to simply represent the job as an accurate description, sell yourself in what you bring to the table for top talent, and avoid phrases and words that have multiple meanings.
Self Check: Can I read your job description and have an accurate understanding of expectations, duties, the offer, and culture? If yes, then you did good!