Best Practices for Writing Better Job Descriptions

More than half of American workers are not fully engaged with their jobs. Consequently, many managers and business leader are preoccupied with addressing this substantial issue. How can you find a candidate who will love the job and deliver the quality of work necessary? Writing better job descriptions is the first step.

Silhouette of a hand picking a standout green candidate from a lineup of black figures.

Best practices for writing better job descriptions

An innovative job description accomplishes three goals:

  1. Captures the attention of your dream candidate
  2. Covers the necessary information
  3. Legally protects your company

How can I grab the attention of dream candidates?

To make sure your job description captures the attention of exemplary applicants, simply imagine what your ideal prospect wants from a job and don’t be afraid to get a little creative. Clever job descriptions will make the right candidates think you created the position just for them.

If the best person for the position is a millennial, you should stress the aspects of the job that will appeal to that demographic. According to a survey, 81% of millennials want to be able to set their hours at work. They also want to dress comfortably. And, they hate cubicles. If your workplace fits the bill, be sure to emphasize these facets of the position.

On the other hand, if the person best suited for the job is someone a little older, you should highlight the family-friendly perks of the position. This age group is looking for good family health insurance, onsite day care, and flexible hours for juggling the children’s activities.

What information should well-written job descriptions cover?

You want to streamline the hiring process (which is expensive for your company) by targeting the exact skills and experience the position requires. When writing better job descriptions, do not use a template. They lead to boring, generic job descriptions that do not tell the exciting story of your company and the unique position you are trying to fill. If you truly want to find the “perfect candidate,” you’ll need to do your part and put the work in.

There are eight essential components of any well-written job description:

  1. Job title – Do not be vague. You will waste a lot of your time fielding applications if you list the job title as “Office Staff.” when you are looking for a “Paralegal.”
  2. TeaserGrab the interest of your ideal candidate.
  3. List minimum qualifications for the job – This will save you countless hours of slogging through applications from unqualified candidates.
  4. An interesting but accurate description of the position – Provide useful information to a prospective candidate that accurately describes the position in the best way possible.
  5. Explain the role the person will play in the company – The best job candidates desire to understand the role they play in the larger scheme of things so be sure to make it easy for them to do so.
  6. Responsibilities and challenges – Make sure the description covers the responsibilities and challenges associated with the position.
  7. Information about your business – Provide a brief and positive description of your business.
  8. Application process – Describe the application process so applicants understand what to expect, including the name of your contact person.

You will regret it if you skip this step:

After you have written a draft, share it with people in the department with the vacancy. Give them free rein to change any inaccuracies or to add vital details. After all, they will have to live with the hiring decision.

How can better job descriptions protect the company?

Writing better job descriptions protects the employer in the event of a claim down the road. The life of a job description goes on long after you hire the candidate. Job descriptions can be crucial evidence during an audit, investigation, or lawsuit.

Accuracy is critical. Over 40 percent of people in a workplace research survey said their job descriptions were inaccurate, even though 97% of the surveyed human resources managers stressed the importance of accurate job descriptions when recruiting.

When a job description is incomplete or inaccurate, the company could be vulnerable to an Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) claim or a discrimination lawsuit. At a bare minimum, sub-standard job descriptions can result in a culture in which some employees wave the banner of “It’s not my job.”

Good hiring practices protect the future of your company, and job descriptions are an inescapable part of the hiring process. Visit Knowledge City for more tips to help you along in developing the most effective hiring process possible.

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