The goal of every HR manager is to find the best, most competent people for the firm. The “job description” is your first connection with potential candidates.
A good job description accurately reflects the duties and responsibilities of the position. The best job descriptions present a realistic picture of the job and answer the question that a candidate would have: “What exactly am I expected to do in this role?”
Every component of a well-written job description to target the right audience can be made creative and engaging with descriptions of creative team roles and responsibilities that will prompt the best people to apply.
Recommended Read: How to Improve Candidate Experience [2021 Updated]
Write Job Description
The job title needs to be specific. The best job description practice entails crafting a creative job title using key phrases that describe the role. For example, “Number Ninja” for an accountant, “Potion Master” for a pharmacist, etc.
It is also pivotal to remember not to get carried away with the creativity and miss out on key phrases in the job title that will attract the wrong person, making you miss out on qualified candidates.
Provide an attention-grabbing ‘bird’s-eye view’ of the firm. An exciting job description would include details of the company culture and enumerate the reasons why a candidate would enjoy working in the firm. The company overview of “Starbucks” serves as a good example:
“Our story began in 1971. Back then, we were a roaster and retailer of whole bean and ground coffee, tea, and spices with a single store in Seattle’s Pike Place market.”
“Today, we are privileged to connect with millions of customers every day with exceptional products and more than 24000 retail stores in 70 countries.”
This section should aim to help the candidates visualize a typical workday. The best practice for writing good job descriptions entails listing responsibilities precisely as clear functions of the job.
Here is an example of writing a unique job description. If you are looking for a Digital Marketing Manager, instead of using an unclear description such as “You will be responsible for the Digital Marketing department,” you could be creative while also describing specific responsibilities in the following suggested job description format:
“Calling all Digital Marketing(SEO) nerds!”
“Do you dream of analytics? Frankly, it would be weird if you do. But, when awake, if you enjoy digging into data, conceptualizing search campaigns, and drafting copy that drives conversions – you might like to spend your waking hours as the Digital Marketing Head with the Strategy Team at XXX Digital Design Ltd.”
Provide a comprehensive listing of the primary and secondary responsibilities, but be concise in describing the duties.
Additionally, provide a brief description of the work environment and explain how the position furthers the organization’s goals. This will help candidates decide if the role aligns with their career goals and ambitions and help attract only those candidates who are genuinely interested.
Some positions might include secondary responsibilities and/or come with additional authority. A creative job description would specify such responsibilities (e.g., provide direction to other individuals, provide training to interns, etc.) and detail the extent of the position’s authority to hire, discipline, terminate, assess performance, etc.
Qualifications and Skills
In this portion of the job description, you should list the required knowledge and skills needed for the position. This section may list down requirements such as education, expected previous relevant work experience, specific knowledge required, and skills expected for the job.
This section should focus on the minimum level of qualifications and skills expected in an individual to succeed in the role. Some employers use this section of their ads to illustrate typical careers in their company, how long their employees stay, and other relevant statistics. This information can help you present your business in a positive light and showcase high retention rates, as well as growth opportunities.
For example, you can refer to this job post from North Coast Electric where the company has highlighted similar points in the form of simple visuals.
Strive to keep the list of skills and qualifications concise. Do not over-specify as this could intimidate many potential applicants and dissuade them from applying for the position. Clearly identify what is required and what can be learned on the job and include only the must-have skills in the job description.
At the same time, use your judgment to not miss out on listing essential hard and soft skills (e.g., personality traits, communication skills, etc.) required for the role.
Today’s technology-enabled modern workplace has acquired a globalized character as regards its workforce. While embarking on writing a good job description, you would do well to be mindful of some common pitfalls.
- Workforces are increasingly diverse. Any bias, even if unintended, in the language of your job description will cause you to lose candidates and could even attract expensive damages claims. For example, a job description that reads “looking for salesmen” implies a gender bias. Similarly, look out for other biases related to age, race, physical ability, etc. There are now numerous HR software tools available that help you create bias-free job descriptions. Please do not shy away from using these tools.
- Guard against using a negative tone in the job description. Instead of writing “candidates with experience less than five years will not be considered,” use something that reads, “this is a senior-level position; proven experience is essential.” This serves the dual purpose of weeding out inexperienced candidates, and the positive tone enhances the firm’s brand perception as an employer.
- Avoid using internal jargon that may potentially confuse the candidates. Use standard terms for an experience like “Senior” rather than “Grade 7” that only the firm’s employees will understand and will be incomprehensible to people outside the firm.
- Increasingly, people are “mobile-first” when accessing job opportunities online. Therefore, a good modern job description needs to balance many contradictory requirements— while it needs to be clear and unambiguous, it also needs to be concise, yet not miss out on necessary details. Together with all of this, it also needs to be structured for mobile-friendly access!
- While the job description should pique candidate interest, there should be no falsification of job title, working conditions, salary, perks, etc. Be upfront about non-negotiable requirements such as work experience, educational qualifications, and necessary certifications; this helps prevent potential deal-breakers and avoidable unpleasantness in the later stages of the hiring process.
The job description is the first and most crucial step of the hiring process. A well-crafted and creative job description is carefully worded to be relatable and speaks directly to the candidates. It is your best means to connect with potential candidates.
Effective job descriptions should be engaging and prompt the right people to apply, thereby saving you time and effort in attracting the best talent for your firm.