Getting the JD Right

Job descriptions don’t get a lot of love.

All too often, your people will look at them and say, “Yeah, that’s what the JD says, but let me tell you what the job REALLY is.” And that’s too bad.

Why? Because the JD is the easiest place to start setting expectations about the role, and the clearer your expectations are, the more easily your employees can meet them.

The best time to start setting those expectations us during the hiring process. That way, you are more likely to attract candidates who actually want to do the kind of work you want them to do, rather than recruiting them for a role and then changing that role once they start.

It’s really up to managers to write the JDs; don’t leave it up to HR, because they aren’t the ones managing your folks and so they may not know everything that’s required or expected. As you look at writing job descriptions, an article in Human Resources offers some tips:

1. The blueprint
You have recruited plenty, so having the basics down makes the whole process a lot easier. Make sure to include;

The job or position title, the department within the organisation the position is for, a summary of the position and the job responsibilities. the position’s essential duties, educational requirements, specific knowledge, skills, work history, or other experiences, training, language, or aptitudes required for the job and qualities or attributes that contribute to superior performance in the position.

2. Keep updating
As technology changes so too will the requirements of the job. So if at first, you don’t catch any fish update, update, update and try again.

3. Keep your priorities in order
Don’t scare off potential candidates with too many “must haves”. Instead of providing a laundry list give five or six essential attributes that are crucial to the position.

4. Unicorns don’t exist
Everyone wants rock star candidates but that could mean waiting too long and missing out on a diamond in the rough. Don’t have unrealistic expectations but rather know what skills are uncompromising and what can be developed. Rather focus on someone who fits the company culture than hunt for a unicorn.

5. Inject your personality
While clear and concise language is important, use the job ad as an opportunity to showcase your company’s culture. The wrong fit can be truly costly so take the time to paint a picture of what its like to work at the company.

Job descriptions can be a very powerful part of your recruiting strategy. If you want to get the people with the right skills, the right attitude, and the motivation to stay because they actually want to do this kind of work, then you need to be clear about what the work involves, and not what it was like 20 years ago. Get your JD right, and recruiting becomes easier (and so do lots of other things).

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