Top Talent in Business

12 Tips for Writing the Perfect Job Description

What type of candidates are you trying to recruit for your open job positions — top-notch or just so-so? The way you present your open job positions to the world can make all the difference. As you tackle recruiting and hiring, keep these 12 recruiting tips in mind in order to draft the perfect job description and attract top talent.

1. Begin with the end in mind

Instead of beginning with a list of duties and expectations, start by picturing your ideal candidate and what your standard of success would be for their performance. Develop a profile of your ideal hire, which you can match against applicants.

2. It’s all in the title

Many corporations have streamlined job titles in an effort to match them to certain levels of salary and company hierarchy. If this is the case in your organization, you may consider using a more descriptive external title for recruiting purposes, one that really captures the essence of the job.

3. Write a killer introduction

As Julie Strickland advises in her recruiting tips and advice on Inc.com, you only have a brief amount of time to catch a candidate’s interest. Beginning with an intriguing question, proposition or statement can make your job description really stand out.

4. Short and sweet rules the day

Strickland also wisely counsels that job description crafters should be brief in listing requirements, preferences and expectations. As attention spans grow shorter, this tip is especially relevant. This is also especially relevant as more and more people access candidate information on their mobile devices.

5. Include the hiring manager, recruiter and any other key internal contacts in the writing process

Different people will interact with your new hire in vastly different ways. While the hiring manager is likely most knowledgeable of expected duties and responsibilities, other team members may also have their own expectations to add. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) refers to this step as performing a job analysis.

6. Separate “must-have” from “preferred” skills

Create tiers of desired characteristics, backgrounds and training. While you might prefer that a candidate hit every possible mark on your list, that’s not always realistic. You can still attract a wide variety of applicants who meet your “must have” skills and may also offer a few of your “preferred” characteristics.

7. Keywords, keywords, keywords

Your candidates will likely find your job descriptions while job searching on the web through a number of hiring sites and search engines. Ensure that you’re using relevant keywords so that your job description appears in search results for highly qualified potential candidates.

8. Rank your priorities

Lay out the duties, skills and required background characteristics by ranking from the highest priority to lowest. This can help weed out unqualified candidates who realize that they do not match your most important needs.

9. Flexibility is important

We are in the midst of a rapidly evolving global marketplace. The Small Business Administration (SBA) reminds us that flexibility in a job description, as well as in the recruiting and hiring process, can show candidates that the job holds the potential for growth and future contributions.

10. Don’t forget the details

Is your open position based in the office or remote? Do you offer alternative scheduling? Will travel be expected of the hire? Do they need to have certain licenses or certifications beyond formal degrees? The devil is in the details, and if you miss adding these necessary tidbits, your job searching candidate pool may fall short of your expectations.

11. Should you discuss money?

Whether or not to include a specific salary or salary range has been long debated. Generally, it is more appropriate to give more specific salary ranges for lower level positions while using statements like “salary commensurate with experience” for managerial and senior level positions.

12. End with a proposition

Think of your job description as a sales pitch and use a call to action at the end to fully hook your potential applicants. You want to encourage them to take the next step and apply. And don’t forget to make the next steps of the application process simple so they can act on your call to action quickly and easily.

Don’t let a poorly drafted job description determine the type of talent you bring into your workforce. It’s all about first impressions when it comes to hiring and your job description is the first point of contact with candidates. Take our top 12 tips to start developing the perfect job descriptions for the perfect hires.

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