Don’t start your candidate search with your job descriptions!
If you think the first step in hiring is updating your job descriptions, you’re missing out on a key part of the process. The first place to start is the job itself. It’s important to know exactly what skills and qualities the ideal candidate must have in order to do the work. If the position requires experience, education, professional licensure or certification, determine the minimum you’ll accept from applicants.
If the position is new, spend some time researching the position as it’s been implemented in other companies. Talk to other organizations that already have someone working in that capacity, and find out what’s really required. Determine the position’s day-to-day tasks and responsibilities, how the position fits into the organization, and the salary range.
Once you know what you’re looking for, write your job description with these requirements in mind. Use specific, clear language to describe the position. Include as much information about the position’s salary and benefits as possible. If you don’t include this information, you run the risk of drawing the attention of candidates who are interested in (and qualified for) the position, but who won’t accept a salary in your target range or your benefits package. You’ll save time and money for all parties if you provide a baseline salary range and an accurate description of the benefits you offer.
Write your job description with the Internet in mind because that’s where your job posting is going to end up, even if you only post it on your own website. Once you’ve posted your job description, you need to account for the (likely) possibility that it will end up on job sites you don’t control – and maybe didn’t even know about. Your goal is to make it easy for candidates to find your job descriptions. For Internet postings, you do that by using the words that your candidates are most likely to plug into a search engine.
People search the Internet using specific, standard terms, so use specific, standard terms in job titles and throughout your job description. A job description is not the place to be creative! Do not load your description with jargon, fantastical job titles or abstract language. If you go that route, you’ll reduce your job description’s visibility, and that almost guarantees that you won’t find the candidates you’re looking for. Include opening and closing dates for receiving applications, and submission instructions in your job posting.
If you would like more information about writing job descriptions that can help you locate highly qualified candidates for your open positions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (734) 961-0408.
Photo Credit: Carl Dwyer, via FreeImages.com