A bad hire can cost a company tons of wasted time and money—literally. In fact, a study by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) found that turnover could cost businesses up to five times a bad hire’s annual salary.
And with the Harvard Business Review pointing out that 80 percent of turnover is due to bad hiring decisions, now more than ever it’s very important for employers to make sure that they are hiring the right candidates.
Though some may look to correct errors within the hiring process, today we want to focus on the step before that step— job postings.
The job post, and more specifically the job description, is extremely critical in attracting the best talent because it is the bait—the information that initially attracts job seekers to your company. If your job description is of poor quality, you may bring in “poor” workers while missing opportunities on top talent.
And even if your job description is exceptionally written, if it lacks key information it could still cost you in the future through turnover as employees discover that the listed job duties don’t align with the on-the-job reality. And high turnover will ultimately tarnish your employer brand.
So, to help you not only bring in the cream of the crop, but also build and maintain your company’s brand, below are seven “must haves” when it comes to creating a job description:
1. Honesty is the best policy. Before you even begin writing, remember this: be honest. Think about the role and its true requirements. Consider what type of worker (and with what qualities, skills and characteristics) will best fulfill the duties of this position. Be honest in your assessment so that this truth will reflect in the job description. Because believe me, there’s nothing worse for a job seeker than when a business paints a totally different picture of a role than what it truly entails.
2. Attractive job titles woo “attractive” candidates. If you want unique candidates your job description must convey unique qualities. Capture the job seeker’s attention with an attractive job and/or post title. For example, simply listing “editorial assistant” will bore a job seeker compared to if you include a catchy statement or question like, “Do you have a love for words, books and all things creative?” You want your post to appeal to job seekers at first glance; the title can be the bait while the remainder of the job description will reel them in to apply.
3. Define the role. Be specific with the requirements; no job seeker desires to read a post and then wonder, So what exactly does the role do? List the main job functions, keeping your post clear and concise to around four to five bullet points. And don’t go overboard with this section. Although you want to be honest about the duties, you don’t need an essay explaining every single detail of what the person will and will not do. Just list the main (and most essential) requirements and any other small tasks you can discuss during the interview.
These tips also ring true for when listing a job seeker’s requirements to fulfill the role. You want to include the most important skills and qualities an applicant needs to have. If you get too specific and list a huge chunk of qualifications, job seekers may get discouraged to apply because they’ll feel like they are unable to check off every single box on your list.
And skip listing general/basic skills. Including a Microsoft Word requirement is a waste of space, especially if you’re requiring a degree.
4. Infuse your company culture. This is especially important for boosting your brand. Make the job description’s tone reflect your culture. If your business is relaxed and creative, the job description shouldn’t come off as strictly “business professional” using complicated jargon and terminology.
Also, don’t be afraid to add photos and links to your company’s website and social media accounts. This will also give interested job seekers an idea of your culture so they can determine if they’re the right fit.
5. Don’t forget the numbers. Salary and wages are important to a job seeker—and listing this information does not equal “salary commensurate with experience.” That tells a job seeker nothing; so, keep this in mind when drafting your job postings. If you do know the salary, or even a range, list it. At least then you’ll know that candidates who apply understand the numbers you’re offering.
6. KISS: keep it simple, sweetheart. When writing job descriptions, don’t forget to keep the application instructions simple, Tell applicants how and where to apply and what documents are required (resume, cover letter, references, writing samples, etc.). Most importantly, do job seekers a favor and list the contact person’s name if it’s not already given in an email. As a job seeker, I can’t tell you how much of headache it is trying to find the correct addressee, especially when a company has multiple hiring managers. Providing as much clear and simple application instructions as possible will show job seekers you consider all their efforts in the job hunt—and that you want to help make it a little easier.
7. Promotion is everything. When you’ve finally created the perfect job description, where you promote the opening will also affect your results. Go to where the type of applicants you’re looking for are, whether that be social media or job boards (or both).
Written By: SHALA MARKS