Most of us are familiar with the nuances of drafting an expression of interest (or a cover letter) which describes why we are particularly interested in a specific job. This is supposed to showcase our skills and experience, and project an ideal suitability with the requirements of the job tasks.
Writing a job description is the flip side of the same coin, where hiring managers make a pitch to attract the right candidates to apply for the job. The job description must be functional and practical; attractive and friendly enough to make the best candidates find a fit with the role and be motivated to apply for the job. This may seem simple, but to attract the right talent which meets all your requirements, without intimidating and turning applicants away; a fine tuned job description is essential.
We recently attended a conference in which procurement officers and human resources executives discussed their “hot buttons”. Job descriptions are high on their lists of items needing improvement. They pointed out that a job description must do more than attract candidates. It is a legal document that specifies the relationship between an employer and employee. The description of the requirements contained in a job description also form the basis for determining market-based pay rates and exemption status. When the job description is intended for project work, it must serve as the basis for defining project activities, deliverables, milestones, and other project requirements.
When sourcing non-traditional talent, the need for a well-written job description becomes more critical. In these situations, the job description is typically written by a hiring manager, then distributed to staffing agencies who must use it as the basis for finding appropriate candidates. The staffing agency may not have direct access to the author of the job description. When clarification is needed, the agency must speak to the Managed Services Provider, Human Resources manager, procurement officer or other point of contact. As questions regarding the author’s intent and preferences are sorted through each of these layers, much can be lost in interpretation.
To be effective, a job description needs to:
Great job descriptions balance the desire to entice the best candidates with the need to accurately portray the position being advertised. Many a manger has found that a clear job description helps them to source candidates who are suited in every way to perform well on the job. Time spent in crafting a well written job description will pay off in terms of new workers who are qualified and motivated to contribute to your business success.
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