Creating Job Descriptions That Really Work
Job descriptions serve three main purposes- they provide insight into the responsibilities of a role, justify the scope of experience and education required of the prospective job incumbent, and provide candidates with an opportunity to learn more about the employer. While each of these purposes are equally as important to attaining optimal talent and further developing your employment brand, it is critical that job descriptions are created purposefully. Often times organizations make the mistake of sharing too much or too little information about the position, resulting in increased time being spent during the recruitment process. Other times, job descriptions that do not accurately provide information regarding the organizational culture result in poor hiring choices leading to long term employee relations issues.
Know Your Audience
During the process of crafting the job description, ensure that you are effectively addressing your audience. As a part of your partnership with the hiring manager, be sure to ask for their assistance in identifying verbiage, terminology and industry specific keywords that are applicable to the role. This will demonstrate the fact that you currently have a subject matter expert on staff and the organization has determined the true requirements of the role. Additionally, this will weed out the under qualified applicants and provide a candidate slate with skill sets that align closely with the areas of responsibility for the position.
Consider your targeted candidate pool and tailor the length and content of the job description accordingly; roles that are entry level should typically be less text heavy than a senior level position. The areas that are important to job seekers vary according to demographic group and experience level. With that being said, a best practice is to identify and develop strategies that effectively articulate not only the requirements of the position, but also the areas of responsibility and organizational culture.
Highlight Organizational Culture
One of the most important aspects of the candidate selection process is choosing an individual that will adapt to the organizational culture. Although difficult to measure, the manner in which an employee adheres to the mission and vision of their employer significantly impacts performance. For this reason, most organizations have developed marketing content that provides prospective employees with an understanding of the inner workings and expectations from an interpersonal perspective.
While it is proven that hiring managers typically overlook any 'red flags' that might be raised associated with lack of cultural fit, it is evident that employees that embody the culture and standards of the company excel. For this reason, a key action item should be to provide a realistic depiction of your company's culture and the manner in which it should be leveraged on a daily basis within the context of work tasks and areas of accountability.
As a Human Resources professional, it is not uncommon to come across a plethora of resumes that do not meet the minimum qualifications for the role as specified in the job description. While this may simply be a result of candidates not thoroughly reviewing the qualifications, a good way to remedy this is to concisely outline the day to day responsibilities of the role. Speak with the hiring manager to get a sense of expectations both on a short term and long term basis; in other words, develop an understanding of how the individual will need to grow in order to meet the future demands of the position. Incorporate both current and future needs into the job description to both excite prospective job incumbents and disqualify those whose current skill set doesn't align with long term objectives.
When applicable, be sure to identify the stakeholders that the individual will be supporting and/or partnering with. Virtually all roles require the capacity to manage relationships, however the extent to which an individual can do so is a critical factor in the selection process. Be effective in outlining the manner in which the successful job recipient will be expected to work with others. If the role necessitates a relationship management focus as a central area of responsibility, be diligent about specifying the types of partners and scope of partnerships.
Identify Business Impacts
Any employee that an organization hires should have a vested interest in impacting the bottom line. Therefore, all job descriptions should explicitly reference the impact that the position has on the organization as a whole. Not only does this reinforce the company's standard of hiring individuals that are both committed and dedicated, it also demonstrates the fact that all employees are expected to support business initiatives and objectives within their scope. This will also reinforce the fact that employees will be held accountable for driving results. A key component of your employee engagement strategy should be identifying ways to generate a deeper sense of purpose within each and every team member; with that being said, one of the goals of the job description should be to set the expectation that each employee is expected to help the organization remain viable and grow, regardless of title or rank.
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