How to write a clear job description that attracts your ideal candidates
This is the first in a series of articles of recruitment tips for company leaders, particularly those new to hiring. The full series can be found at monarchpersonnel.com.
Job descriptions come in all shapes and sizes. Some are weighed down in minute detail while others are downright evasive and the candidate is expected to be a mind reader. Somewhere in between you will find job descriptions that actually do the job (excuse the pun).
So, how do you hit that sweet spot of writing a job description that makes sense, has the right amount of detail and will attract the right kind of candidate?
Be sure about the duties of the role
Before writing a job description you need to be sure of your own understanding of the duties and requirements of the role. Without this insight you will be hard pushed to attract the right candidate.
If you’re recruiting for an existing role, you shouldn’t assume that a previous job description is still accurate. Investigate and analyse the role fully:
- Speak to the person who is about to leave, or someone who is currently doing the same role, to understand their daily tasks
- Observe them in action to understand what they do and how they interact with others
- If there is no-one in the job to speak to, list the duties the new employee will be responsible for and perhaps run this by co-workers.
Make sure the job title is appropriate to the role
Give the role a clear and concise job title. Don’t indulge someone’s ego by making the role sound more senior than it is. This will only lead to disappointment or an inflated sense of position.
Be factual and use clear language
When a candidate reads a job description they should be left in no doubt as to what the role entails. Make the job description factual without embellishment. If the job description is unclear, you will be inundated with applications from unsuitable candidates
Likewise, don’t use flowery language and jargon that candidates will need a business-speak dictionary to understand.
Get the salary and benefits right
You should conduct thorough research into what is a competitive salary for the role. Don’t assume that the salary of an incumbent is still competitive and automatically offer the same. Offering a competitive salary says much about you as a business and your growth mindset.
All benefits should be clearly laid out to avoid any awkward conversations later. Remember, holidays are not a benefit!
Diversity and inclusion
Avoid any gender bias words and any phrases that might be considered non-inclusive. If you’re unsure on this you should get a second opinion before publishing the job description.
What to include in the job description
Let’s get to the nitty gritty. Here is what your job description should include:
- A brief summary of the purpose and objectives of the role
- Who the successful applicant will report to
- Essential functions of the role – daily duties that need to be prioritised
- The knowledge, skills and abilities required (more commonly known as competencies)
- Whether there are any staff to supervise
- Describe the environment – be truthful. Don’t claim to have Google type offices. There’s more to a work environment than bean bags
- Hours of work. If you expect a degree of flexibility, say so
- Whether travel is involved. If so, how often and where to
- Minimum qualifications and experience
- Desirable qualifications and experience.
If your job description includes all of these elements, applicants can assess if they are suitable for the role and if it is a job they want.
Remember, this is a two-way process. As much as you don’t want an unsuitable employee, that same employee doesn’t want a job they won’t like. Neither scenario ends well!
Look out for the next article
Our second article in this series will be published next Wednesday 9th June. We will be providing tips on drafting a strong advert that ideal candidates will respond to.
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