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How the perfect job description gets you the right talent

When it’s done right, a well-written job description can not only attract the best talent to your company but also set the right expectations.

It’s important that a job description is unbiased, draws an authentic picture of the company and team, outlines the key responsibilities, discusses the relevant qualifications, and shares the perks of the position.

However, we still see a lot of companies that either don’t understand the impact of a good job description, or are still in the process of mastering how to write an outstanding one.

What are the most common mistakes, and how can they be fixed?

Mistake 1: Long lists of essential qualifications

Men often apply for a position even though they only meet around 60% of the requirements. By contrast, a Hewlett Packard report states that women are more selective and more self-conscious, and as a result, only apply to positions where they 100% fit the requirement.

What can we do about it?

The first step to overcoming this, and getting women to apply for a role, is to limit the list of requirements in the job descriptions. Only list the ones that are most necessary and phrase the others as “nice to have” or “bonus for”. It’s important to differentiate between desired, and required qualifications. The descriptions should also include insights into the values – best-fit candidates should take priority, instead of naming every single required qualification.

mistake 2: over-promising

Drawing an unrealistic picture of your company & team, and the responsibilities & scope of the open position will lower your quality of hire. As soon as the candidate joins the company, they will find out that you were over-promising and under-delivering. This will establish mistrust, and your new employee won’t identify with you in the long run; leading to them not thriving in your company, and eventually leaving. You’ll have the costs and start all over again with the hiring process. Being honest is the priority.

mistake 3: using Internal terminology & jargon

You might use specific words or phrases throughout your company and everyone knows what you mean by it, but outside the company, it’s a different story.

Some people may feel excluded and don’t even want to go through the effort of applying if they don’t understand what you outlined in your job description. Use terminology that can be understood by a wide audience and cut out jargon. Too much jargon can create confusion and drive away candidates.

mistake 4: Unrealistic expectations

Simply put, the requirements in your job description should be accurate and within reason. Looking for someone with an entrepreneurial mindset who speaks 6 languages, has a great eye for design, 15 years of programming experience, and willing to earn just above the minimum wage is like finding a needle in a haystack. But, lets be honest, your likelihood of hiring someone like this is pretty low.

Of course your candidate should be qualified, but there’s a little leeway in interpreting what that means. Unrealistic expectations scare off your candidates before they even apply. In our experience, it can be more beneficial for a company to hire for attitude and train for skills, finding the best matches who see themselves thriving within your company.

mistake 5: grammar and formatting mistakes

This really sounds like the obvious here, but we still see a lot of errors in job descriptions. Don’t make it too long, you don’t want to bore potential candidates with unnecessary information, or too short (remember, it should help your potential candidate to draw a thorough and realistic picture of the job and work environment). Use bullet points instead of overloading it with a large wall of text and check for spelling & grammar. Avoid negative wording at all costs.

Filling the job with the perfect candidate starts with writing the perfect job description. Need more information, or want help in attracting the right candidates to your positions? Get in touch today and discuss how Seuss Recruitment can help you.

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