4 Keys to Writing the Best Job Description
Whether you’re an internal or external recruiter, you need a killer job description to attract the right talent. It takes far more than fancy jargon to do the trick, too. But the benefits of writing a great job description are immense. In fact, articulating a clear and accurate job description is the best strategy for attracting the best talent, and outlining the key interviewing and evaluation criteria.
Don’t risk attracting the wrong talent—or dealing with rapid turnover—by posting a job description that doesn’t align with the real needs of the organization. It’s much better to get it right up-front. So before you write the job description, here are four keys to focus on first.
Understand the business problem driving the new hire
Smart recruiting should start with a definition of the business problem that is trying to be solved, and not just crafting a bulleted list of “requirements.” Why is this strategy so effective? Once you know the business reason behind the hire, you can then craft a job description that will reach the right people.
There are several ways that this strategy positions the recruiting process for better success. First, once you’re clear on the business problem, you can actually source, attract, and evaluate for the correct attributes. For example, a company may think they need a software developer who can code in multiple languages, but they may actually need someone who is teachable, communicative, and has strong project management skills.
Second, the job description is the signal that attracts talent. It’s the first filter that leads applicants to your door. If the job description doesn’t align with the actual needs of the position, then you will end up with a pool of unqualified applicants, or worse, a bad hire resulting from mis-aligned expectations. It’s much better to get it right first to save yourself time and energy.
Before diving into the details of a job description, take a step back and understand why the role is actually open. This might require several conversations with the hiring team and executive sponsors to get clarity, but it’s definitely worth everyone’s time.
Determine the expectations and metrics for success
Next, determine what will make someone successful in the role. Get specific about metrics, if possible. Will the successful candidate be expected to hit a certain sales milestone within their first 90 days? If you are seeking a “player / coach” what will be the expected split of time between managing and executinig? Speak with their future colleagues and manager to understand what success looks like in this position.
Don’t accept skills or preferred executional duties as the final requirements. Push to determine outcomes related to quantity or behaviors that align with the expectations of the role. Clear information about metrics for success should go into the job description so you can both attract and evaluate job-seekers who can achieve what is required.
Articulate the role’s relationship to the overall organization
Now, it’s time too zoom out. How does the role fit into the overall organization? Explore the ways in which the position will balance out the team, as well as the ways in which it integrates with the rest of the company. The answers to these questions will be equal parts company culture, company hierarchy, and should be influenced by the job seeker’s career trajectory.
Is the role an instigator, charged with leading projects and questioning norms? Will the person be expected to unfailingly support their coworkers and managers, keeping to themselves for most of the workweek? It builds confidence in job-seekers when they understand how their future position interfaces with the rest of the company. Put this into your job description.
Determine the impact this hire will have on your business
Finally, decide what the business is trying to accomplish when recruiting candidates. Determine and communicate the impact that the new hire will have in this role and how they will contribute to growth of the company. This type of positive, forward-moving energy shows candidates that the company knows what it wants. Nobody wants to join an organization where they aren’t working towards anything meaningful. People want to feel useful. Incorporate this type of information into your job listing, and you’ll attract great candidates who are ready to give their all.
Allow these four steps to guide you as you craft a job description. This will help you recruit, evaluate, and select the correct candidate for the role you’ve been charged with filling. Remember, no amount of careful interviewing can fix a mismatch between job description and job-seeker. Save yourself the time by getting it right the first time.
Reach out to Ron Laneve at Bell Falls Search for help with your talent acquisition strategy. We create custom strategies for emerging growth businesses that need great people to achieve their goals.