Do we really need better Job Descriptions?

I have recently read a couple of blog posts at some new job board companies concerning the need for better job descriptions. I am wondering if that is really the case?

Do we need job descriptions at all? We’ll leave that topic for another day.

Does a detailed job description effectively target the exact talent being sought or screen them out?

My experience has shown that a significant percentage of the time, the hire that is made does not match the job description. Why is this?

I. The requirement changes over time.

II. The job description was the “kitchen sink” variety that actually described three positions

III. The company hired the best talent not the best “fit” to the description

IV. The great software engineer didn’t apply when they read the term “rockstar or ninja” in the description.

We think about recruiting using the concepts of Attractors and Promoters.

Attractors are what draw people towards your opportunity. The magnets pulling in candidates such as the background of the company including the stories about the founders, the “cool” product, the interesting or difficult problem being solved, the exceptional work environment, the high quality team and the investors. Anything that makes the company attractive to potential employees.

Promoters are the ways you get the word out about your company. Blogs, articles and media exposure, Events, and advertising. Job postings are one of your promoters.

So how do you make your job postings most effective as a promoter of your company?

First of all consider how they will be viewed. Job postings usually come in large groups as a list of results from a search. Therefore, to be effective, bringing the viewer to your site is the primary goal. This way you will have their attention and a much higher chance of generating interest.

So is a long and detailed job description going to the most effective means to get the viewer interested? Maybe not. A job posting may be better used as a description of your company, using your attractors, and a succinct overview describing the position. Candidates already know what the general requirements are for their current job. Too much detail regarding duties and may send a candidate packing because they do not fit that description, even though they could do the job.

Potential employees make the decision to work at your company based on the quality of the people they will be working with (the Company), the vision and problem the company is solving and if what you want them to accomplish is something they will love to do.

Maybe it is a semantics issue, but this information is not going to be contained in a job description. Better to write copy that makes your company interesting and attractive to potential employees. People go to work at Companies, not jobs, so spend your posting real estate mostly on promoting the attractive qualities of your company and less on detailed job descriptions.

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