Why Your Job Description isn’t Working and How to Fix That

Every recruiter or HR person in the world will tell you that the single most important part of the recruiting process is having a top quality job description. The job description is influential in getting the kind of candidates that you want. The job description lures in the right candidates and it lets them know what the job is about and gives the company what they want in a candidate.

No tool and no technology, not even social media have changed the importance of a good job description. In fact, what those new tools and new technology have accomplished is that they expand the horizons of the job description and extend its reach in ways that serve to make them even more important than they once were.

All that said, for the candidate, reading a job description can be about as interesting as writing a resume in triplicate. Job descriptions very often say too much but don’t really explain the job at all. The oversell the company and undersell the job. That is if you’re able to even tell what the job is about.

In many cases, the job description isn’t working and it’s not getting you the kind of candidates that you need. How can you fix that?

How can you change the job description so that it actually explains the job, makes it interesting and offers you the kind of draw to your job that you want it to have?

Most of us have read a job description and we had no idea what the job actually was. Sadly, that’s the norm for many job descriptions. The goal has to be for  HR and recruiting companies to change that. The question is how?

What makes a bad job description and what makes a good one?

By the time it’s time to fill a position again, many companies are desperate to get the position filled. We need to have the applications sent to us as quickly as possible. Often times what we do is to create a job description based on the old one–or worse yet, just use the old one.

The job may have changed ten times and it may be totally unique from what it was, but we’re using the same tired job description that we’ve been using for ten years. That isn’t a workable solution when you’re trying to find fresh candidates with the kind of technical and media expertise that you’re looking for.

Always write new job descriptions each time that the job changes. Taking an extra two hours to do a good description won’t hold up the process as much as not having a good job description and not getting the quality of candidate that you need. Make it fresh and clean and make sure that it actually and accurately describes the job that you have. Try to make it as interesting as possible. Let the candidate know what is imperative for them and what would be a tie breaker so that they are encouraged to add in their other experience and training and let you know where they excel.

Don’t be unrealistic about the job requirements. it’s not at all uncommon to see a “grunt” job being listed with PhD requirements. People tend to steer clear of mixed messages and foolishness when it comes to their career. Be realistic about the job and don’t expect a doctorate student to apply for a shelf stocking job unless it pays far better than average.

Make the job sound like what it is.  If you’re able to make it interesting and unique, do so. Don’t oversell it but by the same token, make sure that people know exactly what they will be doing and how it needs to be done. Explain what skills they will need to accomplish it and help them to understand what “it” actually is. Giving them real information that is not fraught with industry jargon and silly buzzwords will help them to better understand the job for which they are applying and ensure that you get the candidates that you need to best fill the job.




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