Sometimes “Help Wanted” ads work too well and you end up weeding through piles of irrelevant resumes from people not remotely qualified. Finding qualified employees is tough these days. You can make it easier by writing effective job descriptions.
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Writing Effective Job Descriptions
A job description that specifies the job’s requirements and duties is the basis for an effective job ad that attracts ideal candidates. To get started, consider these factors:
- Job duties. What are the responsibilities of the job, both daily and long-term? Think about the duties the person will be performing, whether that’s supervising a department, driving a delivery truck or handling customer service calls.
- Prior experience. Is this an entry-level job requiring no prior experience or a senior-level job requiring specific experience? Be as detailed as you can—for example, “Qualified candidates must have at least 5 years of experience overseeing a warehouse.”
- Degrees, licenses or certifications. What type of degree is needed (high school, college, advanced degree)? If you require a specific type of degree, such as an M.B.A., state that. Also list any certifications or licenses required, such as a Class C driver’s license or cosmetology license.
- Special skills. Consider what skills the person needs to do the job, such as proficiency in Excel spreadsheets, the ability to write code for websites or the ability to operate a forklift.
- Requirements of the job. These are things a person needs to know about before applying for a job. For instance, will he or she have to work with hazardous materials, work nights or travel out-of-state on a weekly basis? Many candidates will not be able to do these things; letting them know upfront will weed them out.
- Pay and hours. Specify whether the job is part-time or full-time and the hours required per week. Also include some indication of wages. If it’s an hourly position, list the hourly wage. If it’s salaried, you can indicate a general range or say something such as “Salary commensurate with experience and skills.” If commission is involved, indicate that.
- Personal attributes. What type of person would do best at this job? Are you looking for someone who can multitask in a busy, high-stress office, or someone who is friendly and calm enough to deal with angry clients in customer service? Use descriptors like “detail-oriented,” “team player,” “self-directed” or “quick learner” to indicate what type of person you’re looking for.
Making your job description effective requires you to be specific and detailed. Writing effective job descriptions will attract more of the types of candidates you want—and fewer of those you don’t.