Getting the Right Employees: The Key Points Every Job Description Should Have

Having trouble finding the right employees to help expand your business? You may be turning off prospective new hires by filling your job posts with jargon and unclear expectations.

“People forget that job descriptions are essentially an ad,” says Jamie Schneiderman, founder and co-CEO of ClearFit, a company that uses software to help organizations find and select job candidates. “You’re advertising a job and should write in the same way you would advertise your company to potential customers.”

Remember, too, that your modest operation may lack sufficient brand recognition to automatically attract some applicants. “Small businesses have to work a lot harder to convince strong talent to work for them,” Schneiderman notes.

Your best bet is to cast a wide yet selective net. To do so, craft a job post that covers the following points:

Job Title — Your company may use unusual job titles that make sense internally, but the title in your ad should appeal to a wide audience. Avoid confusing or misleading language. Don’t say “ambassador of first impressions” when you really mean “receptionist,” Schneiderman advises.

Responsibilities — Give candidates an idea of what they can expect on a daily basis. Any list of tasks should convey whether the job will be entry level or higher up on the chain. Will the majority of the employee’s time be spent on the sales floor or collaborating with others? Or it this a solitary gig for a self-starter? Explain the major tasks you want this person to handle, but don’t go overboard. “Tell them what they will be responsible for, what you need from them, but also be aspirational and tell them where they are going,” Schneiderman suggests.

Cultural Fit — You may not need to spell out your corporate culture in the description, but the tone and wording you use will help candidates to determine whether they’re a good fit for your business. For example, a web startup aimed at college students may want to be a bit snarky, whereas a small CPA firm may want to come across as formal and serious.

Required Skills — State your must-haves here, such as a driver’s license for a delivery person or experience with HTML coding for a website manager. Be clear about what skills are mandatory, such as any certifications or other prior training.

Your Expectations — This is a place to ask for personal information about candidates that may not be evident on their resumes. Do you need someone who never misses a deadline? Someone with a flexible schedule who can work at a moment’s notice? Are people skills a key requirement, because the employee will interact with clients all day long?

Salary and Benefits — It’s best not to be coy here, Schneiderman says, because job descriptions that include compensation numbers tend to elicit better applicants. Provide a compensation range and mention any significant benefits, so candidates get an idea of how much you’re willing to spend (and to avoid wasting people’s time if they require a higher pay).

About Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson is a business writer and editorial consultant. Her work has appeared in CFO and CIO magazines.
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