Hiring Can Be Tough Without an Airtight Job Description

 

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Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost.”

― Kahlil Gibran

Communication isn’t easy, and misunderstandings often impede the work of even something as seemingly-elementary as a job description.  Job descriptions are a company’s first opportunity to say, “this is who we are and what we are looking for; here’s why we think you should want to work for us.” If only it were that simple.  If only employers could communicate a position perfectly, and only potential-employees perfectly matching the description and desiring the advertised compensation would respond. Hiring would be far easier.

But companies regularly struggle to provide job descriptions that are both complete and concise, often leaving out important information or going into too much detail. Both errors result in undesirable candidate pools.  

You may not have weighed the value of a recruitment consultant in writing or contributing to your company’s job descriptions, but it is a service worth considering.

Recruiters, as middlemen of sorts, have the unique opportunity of observing and participating in the communication dance between employer and employee.  Hundreds of times over, they work with businesses to be sure they themselves understand the heart of a company’s job description; they notice when qualified candidates are drawn to or put off by elements of the job posting, and they work to clarify intentions and resolve communication issues between both parties.  Businesses would be wise to seek out the insight of these communication experts.

Issues with job descriptions can be difficult to diagnose. Usually companies realize their job descriptions are problematic when they receive little interest in a job posting, when many of the applicants who respond to a posting do not meet a company’s required qualifications, or when response is far too numerous and varied to handle well.

Sometimes the advice is easy.  A generic job description will usually yield a larger, much more varied pool of applicants.  A too-specific or too-obscure job description may yield no applicants at all.

But sometimes, the problem is trickier to diagnose. Maybe a company has had good success with a job description in the past, only to find that now it is ineffective. What changed?

It could be the language. Job titles evolve over time, and your job description is possibly being passed over by candidates searching by newer terminology. Or maybe you are advertising for a position that used to be a single job, and has now grown into several, more specialized positions. Many tech positions fit into this category, with the all-encompassing “IT guy” job description a thing of the past.

Additionally, your job description could be lacking language that did not used to matter.  This may include descriptions of benefits, amenities, or cultural components you had not previously needed to add. Candidates today want to know not only what a job requires, but what it will be like to work for you. Also, the millennial workforce finds value in a different set of benefits. Your job description may have boasted a strong benefits package at one time, but now there are candidates who want gym memberships and work-from-home options more than they want health insurance.  

Job descriptions could also have more nuanced issues, like tone and style. What you thought was clear, straightforward communication is possibly being translated as arrogant, stuffy, or demanding. Or maybe the description you believed communicated a more laid-back work atmosphere has been understood to be unprofessional or from a business lacking a quality work product.
Sometimes, you need a professional communicator, someone who excels at bridging the gap between employers and candidates. Consider enlisting the help of an experienced recruiter, and leave behind job descriptions that are keeping you from finding quality candidates.

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