Someone is leaving the company and needs to be replaced in the next four weeks. You know what you want from the new person and you start writing the job description. But, somehow, it doesn’t turn out as planned. The text becomes a bullet list of duties, you are vague about responsibilities and you are not specific about what success looks like in this position. In the end, you end up receiving CVs that are not suited for the role. Sounds familiar?
Many small and medium-sized companies, do not pay close attention and don’t spend enough of their time to the way they write a job description, resulting in a harvest of unrealistic expectations. As you go about writing, think of four principles: Be precise. Be correct. Be accurate. Be honest. For example, “Event Management” can mean anything from managing a team to setting up chairs and handing out flyers. Be precise about the essential functions of the job by detailing priorities and daily functions. By creating a shopping list you are not making the job description any more precise than writing “mustard” on your shopping list. There are many different types of mustards on offer as there are many different responsibilities and tasks in a department. Be accurate as to what the job entails. What you are aiming for is an impressive choice of amazing candidates, who will step in at the interview with a clear picture of what it is you are offering.
In order to help you make writing a job description precise and targeted, we have created a list of the seven most common mistakes with a brief guide on how to avoid making them.
1. Creating unrealistic expectations
Exaggerating a position’s requirements can create confusion to the candidates and will put them off. Use descriptive wording in bullets to frame the most accurate job description if you’d like to filter out candidates who do not fit the job requirements.
2. Using a confusing title
The job title plays an important part when determining whether a candidate will continue reading the job description. Keep the title succinct and on point. A title such as, “Chief Visionary Officer” is vague and quirky (is this role limited only to visionary ideas?) and will certainly not generate much interest.
3. Forgetting to list essential job functions
A great candidate with qualified skills will look for job functions that match his qualifications and meet his personal goals. Imprecise job functions lead to confusion and attract the wrong type of candidates for the job.
4. Missing important information
Informative input about the company’s goals, values, and ethical stance will provide a more holistic understanding of the specifics of the job and will attract higher caliber candidates.
5. Not including Salary
Presenting the salary range instantly sets a quantitative boundary between recruiter and candidate. The salary listing will automatically act as a filter for the candidates who will not accept a job offer at that salary and it will save the company and recruiter valuable time during the interview process.
6. Writing an essay of expectations
A long word-cluster job description that does not properly present the company’s brand will mirror the type of candidates applying for the position. A job description should be written in a tone that sets the company’s culture and environment because that’s the type of candidates you want to attract.
7. Not involving your employees in the process
The most successful hires come from your own network of employees. Encourage your staff to actively involve themselves in the referral process through an employee reward system. A large fraction of driven and dynamic applicants will come from your existing social and professional network.