Why HR Needs to Improve Job Descriptions and How to Make Them Stand OutAugust 18, 2015 - By: Jason Carney
HR experts have noticed a growing trend among interviewing and hiring – traditional job descriptions just aren’t cutting it. In an age of digital and social proficiency, on top of multi-tasking, hiring managers must hone in on exactly who and what they want in order to get the best candidates for the job. Too many job descriptions are overly general and do not describe the type of person a company is looking to hire, nor the results expected from the position. Instead of a list of responsibilities or requirements expected from an employee, create the posted employee profile.
For example, this sample ad presents a laundry list of things expected from an assistant. The job description doesn’t describe what the position demands or what type of person the business is looking for:
Hiring for assistant
- Must have 3-5 years experience in a business setting
- Will need to work some weekends and holidays
- Required to be present and early to all meetings
- Needs professional phone etiquette
A better way to approach creating a usable job description is by keeping the employee profile in mind. Describe what expected outcomes are, the ideal candidate and miscellaneous responsibilities. Take this example:
Hiring for assistant
- Must have 3-5 years experience in an communications setting such as: broadcast, advertising, public relations, or writing
- Ideal candidate is: friendly, hardworking, polite, and able to meet the demands of a busy workweek
- Provide recaps of all meetings within an hour of their conclusion to those present
- Must have experience taking phone calls and redirecting callers to the appropriate destination
- Will be required to work non-traditional hours, with appropriate compensation
- Skilled in managing several projects at once and working on a company budget
As you can see from the second example, job seekers will have a better understanding of what the company is looking for and can apply for the position accordingly. A job posting similar to the first example might attract a high number of candidates, but weeding out the unqualified candidates can take excessive time away from an HR manager’s busy day. The manger must sort through all applications, interview potential matches and even conduct multiple rounds of interviews. The posting based on an employee profile will attract the right kind of candidates, making it more likely that the chosen candidate and position are a good match, leading to reduced turnover rates. Not only do better job descriptions using employee profiles help attract top employees, they help retain them as well.
During the hiring process, nothing is more important than bringing on the right employees for the job and building the team to keep the company successful. Following this new trend, the best employees start with a stellar job description based on company culture and realistic expectations.