Writing a Good Job Description

Are your job descriptions outdated, stale, and quite frankly, unappealing? Maybe they haven’t changed in structure over the last decade or so, but fewer people are attracted to the position or the quality of applicants has gone down. What has changed? Technology. The Technology age has done more than simply put smart phones in our hands and wireless internet streaming through the air. Technology changed the way companies recruit the best and brightest and that should give you all the reasons you need to change your job descriptions.

The job description isn’t just a pre-qualification for candidates. Stating all of the requirements to apply versus giving all of the goals of the job and the lifestyle advantages will only deter candidates who want a challenge…not a laundry list. What job descriptions should be, on the other hand, are an insightful peek into the job, the company, the team and the culture.

Here are some tips to writing good job descriptions that attract highly skilled and independent candidates.

Writing a Good Job Description

Show off!

This is the opportunity to entice candidates. You may not be the next Google or Facebook but trust me, you have a differentiator. Candidates who can relate to the posting are more likely to be a cultural fit and to stay engaged when they see the “real company”. Today’s candidates want to be part of a vision, a mission and a future. Writing a good job description means applicants need to feel culturally aligned with your company when they read the post. More importantly, however, candidates want to know they can contribute to the success of that vision. Especially in the case of coveted tech talent, candidates have the luxury of shopping around for the “best offer.” A poorly written job description will turn desirable candidates away from what could be a perfect fit for you and them. You never get a second chance to make a first impression (okay, that’s not entirely true…you can actually use retargeting but you get my drift). Write a good job description to avoid wasting valuable time and money getting a candidate to your posting.

Be flexible if you can!

As the employee base grows older and moves into retirement, Millennials take their place and fill the gaps (maybe, the gaps seem to be widening in some industries). While the generation that preceded them might have tolerated 60 hours work weeks and thought flexibility was something for yoga class, these new workers want to work when and where they choose. Freelance work is more popular now than ever before with 26% of the Millennial workforce freelancing in addition to working full-time. Some are simply just freelancing, working contingent jobs or working remotely. Of those entering the workforce, 87% of the higher educated Gen Y employees see freelancing as a more attractive and lucrative option to full-time work.

Employers then need to take this into consideration when writing good job descriptions. Candidates are less likely to be interested in the “perks” of a job, but rather the benefits of a lifestyle. Sounds the same, but having the flexibility to finish your work after the kids’ soccer game is much more appealing than taking time off. Can you fill your position with a freelance worker? If not, can you use the verbiage in your job description to emphasize deliverables rather than time in office? (Psst! One way to do this is NOT to list the hours of work if you can possibly help it!)

Highlight skills

Just like the change in job postings, work has become less of a static role. It’s no longer an assembly line of paperwork; the office has evolved into a place driven by results, measurable ones. With that change comes the added need for clarity in the job posting. Candidates want to know what is expected of them before they apply for the positions so they are know whether or not they can meet those expectations. Focus on an attitude of learning and process improvement rather than the standard “intermediate knowledge of XXX.” Modern day assessments and team building tools can help you identify the best learners, rather than paying top dollar for a skill that might shift in dependency a year or two later. By merging onboarding and learning, you save time and get your team up and running in both the processes and the skills you need; at the SAME TIME!

The best job description and perfect placement of the posting takes time, precious time. In order to make sure deliverables are met and projects completed on time, consider hiring a freelancer to fill the employment gap. Not only would it meet client deadlines, it would give the opportunity to adjust the job description further in order to provide clarity in the posting.

Businesses that will succeed in the battle for qualified talent are the ones who adopt the changes in recruiting and adjust their styles to the evolving trends. Job descriptions are already being abandoned by some of the world’s best branded companies. Rather than put them out to pasture completely, consider reviving them. The most successful job postings target company culture, adaptive work schedules, and the specific goals of the position. But the smartest recruiters know that a job requirement and a job posting are NOT the same thing.

How is your company adapting to write good job descriptions?

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