If you’re looking to hire an employee for your company, your first step should be to set some parameters for who you would like to fill the position. Unless you have some type of criteria to use, you may be tempted to accept the first person who applies for the job, and that could be a big mistake.
Here are some strategies for writing a winning job description that will help you get clear about the duties of the position and who you should hire to fulfill them:
1. Choose a Clear, Concise Title for the Position
Practice saying the proposed title to yourself a few times. If you aren’t clear what it means after you’ve heard it, it’s either too long or needs to be changed to something less obscure.
2. Paint a Picture of the Position
Tell potential hires enough information about your company, your team and the types of projects they’ll be working on. If you don’t provide enough information, you make it harder to find candidates who are a good fit for your team. You may find that many job seekers will pass on the opportunity because they think it’s a waste of their time.
Show potential hires you value their time by giving them the information they need to evaluate the opportunity by being open about what you have to offer.
3. Describe the Work Environment
Is it noisy or quiet? Will the employee be required to do any heavy lifting? Will they need to operate any equipment as part of their job duties? These details should be part of the job description so candidates know what to expect and whether the job will be a good match for them.
4. Spell Out the Skills That Matter Most to You
Make sure you include the top three or four skills candidates should bring to the table. This doesn’t mean you won’t still get the occasional out-in-left-field candidate, but it reduces the likelihood.
5. Include Any Educational Requirements
Consider these requirements very carefully, though. You want to make sure the level of education you specify in your job description is a “must-have” for the job and not simply something that would be an advantage for an employee to have.
If you would be willing to consider a candidate who has a certain level of education or a certain number of years of practical experience for the position, be sure to include this.
6. Outline Day-to-Day Duties
Describe as accurately as possible the day-to-day duties of the job as it exists today. You don’t want to project what the job may be like in the future; you are looking to hire someone who can do the job at present.
7. Watch Your Words
When writing the job description, keep the focus on the duties and responsibilities of the position, as opposed to the personal characteristics of the person performing the job. You’re welcome to include personal characteristics that would help a candidate succeed, but make sure the nuts and bolts of the job’s duties are clearly outlined first. Anyone can be “hardworking,” but what you want is a hard worker who can perform the necessary duties.
Also be careful to keep your language gender-neutral. (You may want to get legal advice about the wording of your job description to confirm that it meets this qualification before you distribute it.)
8. Use Descriptive Adverbs
Use interesting, engaging words to provide more information about the duties potential hires will be expected to perform. If you want to attract top talent, you need to get them excited about the prospect of working with you, and that means capturing their interest from the get-go with your job description.
9. Clearly Describe What You Would Consider “Success” in This Role
Every position has a different definition of success, and you need to explain to potential hires what standard they will be expected to meet as part of your team if you bring them on board.
10. Include Compensation!
“Salary commensurate with experience” won’t generate the same interest as a specific range or figure.
You’ll need to do your homework to determine how much to pay the person you bring on board. If you’re creating a new position, go online or talk to other business owners who employ people in similar capacities to get an idea of how much you should be offering a qualified candidate.
Additional Notes to Keep in Mind
Once you have your job description written, review it carefully to make sure the copy is free from any errors or omissions. Ideally, this document should be something you keep adding to regularly. Every positions in your organization should have a formal job description, and each one should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure the written job description and the duties of the position match.
By taking the time to prepare a detailed job description when you’re ready to hire a new employee, you’ll have a much better chance of attracting quality candidates. (Click here to tweet this though.)
You will likely get many applications when you advertise the job opening, and you may want to consider internal candidates first for any vacancies in your organization. You could also fast-track applicants who come to you through referrals from current employees (as long as they meet the criteria you’ve set out in your job description, of course).
No matter which way you slice it, the job description forms the basis for finding the best candidates for available positions in your organization. If you don’t have a clear idea of exactly who you’re looking for, you won’t be able to fill the position quickly and efficiently. The job description forms the baseline against which you measure candidates and make your choice for who you should bring on board to fill the position. Follow the tips listed above to do it right.