One of the biggest mistakes an HR department can make is underestimating the power of their job descriptions. While a hiring cycle can sometimes feel like everyone is merely going through the motions, neglecting important aspects of a job description can actually make everyone’s jobs more complicated. If you don’t write the job description and list the position correctly, you aren’t going to get the results you want.
Instead of settling for whatever candidates come your way, try tailoring your target audience and boosting the visibility of your job description. Here are five keys to writing an effective job description that gets stellar results.
Titles are everything. The right title is clear and informative without being so decorative in language that the right people will miss it in their search results. You may be under the impression that flowery, fun titles make your company seem like an exciting place to work, but you’ll quickly find that they do little more than confuse people. Be direct. Work as many title-related keywords into the text, so people seeking a position that aligns with what you’re offering will be able to locate it, regardless of their preferred search terms.
You already know what the job entails down to the letter, and the official description is probably typed up on a few sheets and stored in its proper filing cabinet. That’s what you give someone once they’re hired – not how you get them in the door. You should always write your job descriptions with the potential candidate in mind. You need to be honest, but enticing. Let them know what you have to offer them. Showcase the finer points of the position. Emphasize any advantages that give you a leg up on your competition. Do you pay higher than market rate? Do you offer exceptional benefits? Do you provide opportunities to travel? When writing your job description, make sure it includes anything that makes you stand out from other employers.
[Tweet “Make sure your job description includes anything that makes you stand out from other employers.”]
Everyone needs to understand the job description you write. If you use a lot of inside lingo around the office, a new hire will pick it all up within a few weeks. Don’t throw it around in the job description. The result is something convoluted, and anything a candidate doesn’t understand will be a drawback. Another thing to consider is how many job descriptions this candidate has already viewed. They’ve seen every cliché you can possibly imagine. Everyone wants a “highly motivated self-starter.” Focus on your uniqueness, and communicate it clearly.
People who just want a paycheck are looking for simple work with regular hours, and that’s all there is to it. Focusing entirely on the first rung of the ladder is going to discourage motivated individuals who are genuinely seeking a long-term opportunity with potential for growth. Address where this position can lead to, and how promotions work within your company. The right candidate wants to see upward mobility, not an average salary and a basic lists of tasks.
[Tweet “The right candidate wants to see the opportunity for upward mobility, not a basic list of tasks.”]
Great candidates are looking absolutely everywhere. You need to make sure your description is posted in as many places as possible, from job boards to social media. Specialized job boards like Stack Overflow and MediaBistro are great, but don’t forget standard-bearers like Indeed and Craigslist, too. They’ll help you expand your reach and access individuals who are seeking a broader realm of possibility.
Everything you say and do during a hiring cycle should be results-oriented, but this means more than filling a chair. You don’t just want a warm body, you want the right body – which will ultimately be more cost-effective and efficient for your business. You may spend more time finding the perfect candidate, but this means fewer hiring cycles.
[Tweet “Turnover can cost 400% of a high-level employee’s annual salary.”]
The cost of employee turnover can run up to 50 percent of an entry level employee’s annual salary. For high level or highly specialized employees, this cost can be as high as 400 percent of annual salary. Taking the time to identify and hire the best candidate from the onset can ultimately save you hundreds of thousands of dollars. And getting that candidate in the door all starts with the job description.
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