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Writing Job Descriptions to Attract the Right Candidates

Attracting the best candidate means creating the perfect job description. You want an employee that will step into the office and get along with their coworkers, know how to get the job done and be able to bring new insights and ideas to the table.

Up to 60% of US employees are currently considering looking for a new job, according to Gallup. Given those numbers, there are a lot of people on the lookout for the perfect position. So, how do you find someone who understands (or will quickly learn) how to use your systems and fits right in with your current team? An important step in finding the best person is at the very beginning: your job description.

The job description is often the candidate’s first glimpse into your company’s culture, and if done right, will encourage the right candidate to apply while also minimizing applications from unqualified candidates.

Use Clear and Searchable Words in the Job Title

People search for jobs in the same way they search for most things– through a search engine. Creating a clearly stated job title that is relevant to the job and easily found on job boards and search engines is the first step in hiring the right candidate. The job title is not the place to show your quirky or creative side. For example, some company cultures encourage cute nicknames in their job titles (ninja, guru, etc), but no one is going to search for a job using those terms. Use a job title that explains exactly who you’re looking for, for example:

  • Administrative Assistant
  • Aircraft Mechanic
  • Project Manager
  • Customer Service Representative
  • Electrician

You can get more creative in the company culture description, but keep the title more straight forward and searchable.

Outline Job Responsibilities Clearly

When you’re interviewing a new hire, you want them to have a good idea of what the job entails. That’s why it’s essential to outline responsibilities clearly in the job description. This ensures that a prospective hire is on board with the position before the interview process starts, ultimately saving you from interviewing candidates who aren’t very good fits.

Here’s an example of some clear job responsibilities for an administrative assistant:

  • Provide administrative support to business owners and senior leaders
  • Strategically manage calendars in a fast-paced environment
  • Coordinate, manage, and schedule conference calls, events, meetings, and company outings
  • Plan and book travel arrangements for employees when necessary
  • Work with little supervision to support staff

Set a Salary Range

Setting a clear salary range in the job description helps to screen candidates before the interview process begins. It allows for differences in experience, education, and negotiations to be made. A range will also protect your company against bias. While legal in Hawaii, in some states and cities, it is now illegal to ask a candidate about their previous salary during the interview process, therefore it’s important the range is established before the interview process begins. And because salary is often a reason people look for a new position, listing salary ranges can save time on both your end and the prospective employee’s. Providing a competitive salary for any position is key to finding the best candidate and may require a little research. Look into what competitors are offering for the same position, taking into account your budget and needs. Salary tools on and can offer some more clarity here.

Describe Your Company Culture

While on the job hunt, potential candidates will envision themselves at your company based on your description of your company’s culture within the job description. This is your opportunity to showcase your differences and describe what it is like to work for your company. For example, does your team do monthly pau hanas? Have offsite meetings? Do you have a great team culture? Are you family-friendly? Share the qualities that make your company different from the rest.

Keep the Skills List Short and Sweet

List the skills that are most important to the job. Many job descriptions list skills that are not directly applicable to the job or are so broad no one feels as though they have every desired skill. Be sure to include both “soft skills” (like communication, problem solving, or strategic thinking) as well as “hard skills” (for example, proficient in a foreign language, a specific certification, or expertise in a program). List exactly what you need from the right candidate, and the perfect candidate will apply with confidence.

Highlight Working Relationships

We know that building employee relationships is crucial to productive and efficient employees, and these quality relationships can begin in the job description. Tell the candidate who they will be working with and reporting to. Providing a short segment about the current employees will show people are proud to work with the company and give the candidate names and glimpses of personalities before they’ve even walked in the door.

A good job description will help attract the right candidates for your company and make the hiring process much easier and efficient. Include these details, and with a little fine-tuning and patience, you’ll be able to fulfill any position with the right candidate.

This post is part of a special blog series on ‘Get Fully Staffed: Finding and Keeping Great People' in support of ProService’s Growth Series event taking place on June 27, 2018. Offered exclusively to ProService clients and special guests, the Growth Series are interactive learning experiences that feature industry-leading speakers and networking opportunities that will inspire and provide tools for business leaders to take their organizations to the next level. To register, please visit our event page and register with code GS2018. 

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