Job descriptions are arguably one of the most important parts of finding qualified candidates. Written job descriptions are intended to ensure that applicants understand the role they are applying for, as well as what they will be responsible for if hired. They describe the major capacities of the position and can be used as a baseline for defining performance expectations and evaluations. Additionally, job descriptions can be used to entice both active and passive talent, which is extremely important.
We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 mistakes we see when it comes to writing job descriptions.
Out of date descriptions
We often see recycled job descriptions that do not include the most current needs of the company. Ideally, you should reevaluate a position annually, so that the position aligns with the current business needs. Generally, tasks will change as the company develops. As your business goals change, there are also new products and technologies to consider. The description needs to include what platforms the candidate should be comfortable working on. Your job description should also be up to date with what qualifications are required, not just skills that mostly everyone has. Eliminate what doesn’t need to be in the description, and be sure to evaluate what the position actually requires.
Missing critical elements
Occasionally, we will run into issues with clients who will submit job descriptions that lack critical elements of the job. What this means is, candidates who apply for the position may not necessarily be qualified. It’s important to not cut corners when drafting up a job description. If a job requires something, be sure to put it in the required skills, not the preferred. When you exclude essential functions of the position, you are wasting your time. Be specific in what exactly you are looking for and what you need to get the job done.
Often times we see job descriptions that have a wide range of requirements that are unrealistic. Skills that a position cannot live without are requirements, while anything outside of this is really extra. For example, we’ve seen various requests for both part time EDI and part time Data Networking, which is a nearly impossible request. While you may prefer that your EDI Specialist can perform Data Networking, you need to determine whether or not you need a separate job posting.
Every so often, we see job descriptions that contain terminology a company uses, but is not universally used. We have occasionally, even seen internal terminology in a job title. It’s important that you use easily recognizable terms when describing a position. If you are posting your position externally and on various job boards, you may be missing out on candidates who think they wouldn’t qualify for a position because they aren’t sure on some of your terminology.
Failing to describe the job
We frequently see job descriptions that lack information describing the purpose of the job itself. It’s important for a candidate to know exactly what they will be responsible for, along with where the role fits in with the goals of the company. We have often seen “Job Descriptions” that only contain requirements. This gives a candidate no clue as to what they will actually be doing.
Sometimes finding the right candidate isn’t easy, but if you spell out exactly what you are looking for, it narrows the candidate pool down to who is actually qualified. You’ll spend more time interviewing solid candidates rather than screening people that don’t fit the bill.
If you’re struggling with your job description, we offer free help crafting an attractive and effective description.
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