Job descriptions are often the first line of contact between organizations and job applicants. Being the gate-keepers of first impressions, it is only natural for companies to focus on creating effective ones. An effective job description, then, not only lists the key responsibilities of the job, but should also promote the company’s values and the perks of working with their team.
However, those aren’t the only factors to consider when writing effective job descriptions. Like the predecessor year, 2021 shook up the global labour market. From pan-vaccination drives for the Covid-19, to socio-economic and political shifts in the world, the new world dynamic of work has caused a major shift in workforce expectations.
So, when writing effective job descriptions for 2023, there are a few changes you may need to anticipate. Here are a few recommendations and tips for writing effective job descriptions.
11 tips for writing effective job descriptions
1. Create short, captivating copy
An effective job description should be brief, compelling, and provide an overview of your company's mission. Worry less about the process aspects of the job and focus on key aspects that will pique people's interest in the role, such as your core values and success capacities.
2. Keep it simple and one-of-a-kind
Avoiding patterns and copying job descriptions from the internet are two things I would advise against. One of the best tips for writing effective job description is to think about the ideal profile for our company. What skills are required to solve a particular problem? I wouldn't make a job description that is too long and crammed with information. If your description is too long, you should summarize it. Candidates may become perplexed by the requirements list.
3. Distinguish between necessary and desired skills
Inform the job seeker that the requirements section is a list of desirable skills that will add value, not an expectation that the chosen candidate will be proficient in all of them. Sharing this mindset will encourage more women and diverse candidates to apply, as well as demonstrate to all candidates that you have a supportive learning culture and plenty of room for advancement in the role.
4. Get feedback from current employees
Another helpful tip for writing effective job descriptions is to request feedback from current employees on the tone, language, and level of detail included in job descriptions. Your job descriptions will be more likely to attract the right talent if they truly reflect the culture of the organisation as well as the realities of the job itself. As part of the onboarding process, the job description should be thoroughly discussed with the new employee.
5. Take into account three specific factors
When writing a job description, there are three things to consider: The "can do," "will do," and "will fit" elements. A resume and references will tell you if the candidate is qualified for the position. Instead of "other duties assigned," list things like one hour of front-desk manning, departmental kitchen cleanup, or other things the candidate will most likely “do."
6. Make use of inclusive language
The key to getting a prospect to even consider working for your company is to make a connection. The first step toward reaching the broadest possible candidate pool is to ensure that your job descriptor language is inclusive and emphasises both access to opportunity and a positive working environment and culture.
7. Set clear goals and expectations
Job descriptions are internal documents that serve as the foundation for hiring and performance development at various stages of the talent lifecycle. Job descriptions can aid in the creation of a job advertisement. To provide clearer expectations, the job ad is a marketing version of the job description that is a shorter version with an overview of the role and responsibilities, attributes, and minimum qualifications.
8. Emphasize the exciting aspects of the job
A job posting can be much more than a dull job description with a laundry list of tasks. Consider job postings as a marketing opportunity to brand your company's culture. And give candidates a realistic preview of the role's good, bad, and ugly aspects.
9. Incorporate genuine employee feedback
Consider including a section at the end with feedback from actual incumbents on past projects, challenges encountered, success stories, and top tips they would give to prospective candidates. While this section will not be a factual or legal part of the document, it will help to humanise and colour the role from the perspective of someone who has done it. Considering these tips for writing effective job descriptions can also help to improve the candidate experience.
10. Ensure alignment of prospective employees
Organizations should make certain that their minimum requirements are appropriate for the role. To ensure compliance, however, a realistic understanding of what will be taught on the job is required, as well as the aptitude required for a transfer of learning to occur. As a result, it's critical that talent acquisition specialists and hiring managers work together to find the best candidate for the job.
11. Include performance metrics
It is beneficial to emphasise the position's expectations rather than the tasks. Organizations frequently focus on daily tasks rather than the actual performance metrics that will be used to determine success in the role. Noting at least some of these upfront in the job description is beneficial for candidate self-selection as well as establishing organisational expectations.
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