Better Job Descriptions Attract Better Candidates

Posted January 28, 2011 by

Candidates are expected to write comprehensive, compelling resumes and cover letters to gain the attention of top employers and land the best entry level jobs. So, it stands to reason that employers would be expected to write equally comprehensive, compelling job descriptions to attract the best candidates.
Scot Herrick has advice that will help employers write better job descriptions in his article, 4 Job Description Ingredients Candidates Would Love. He first warns employers not to use template-based job descriptions but to tailor their job descriptions to attract the kind of candidates they want to hire.

1. The job description specifies the goals the candidate will work on. Herrick recommends including goals in the descriptions so candidates know what will be expected of them once they’re hired.
2. The job description describes critical skills needed – and how they are used on the job. Here he suggests being specific about how candidates will use software applications, like Movable Type, or how they will be expected to use Excel, Word or PowerPoint in their jobs.
3. The job description describes the “typical” day for the candidate. Again Herrick recommends being specific about what the candidates will be expected to do on a daily basis. Rather than saying the candidates will have to work in a fast-paced environment, it might be better to say something like:
“employee will be expected to complete 10 summaries – one for each supervisor – each day by noon, outlining what tasks their teams have completed, what tasks are pending and to provide estimate dates of completion. The summaries are to be neatly typed, proofread, and placed in each supervisor’s binder in preparation for their daily 1 p.m. meeting with the department manager.”
4. The job description describes the culture of the team. Herrick advises being totally honest about the environment candidates will be working in so they will be able to decide – before they even submit their resumes – if they could thrive in an environment where they might be expected to “collaborate with other employees to complete projects” or to “work independently, with minimal supervision, 90% of the time, researching and analyzing data.”
Herrick says there are three answers employers seek during interviews that could be answered by writing more detailed job descriptions:

  • Can the person do the work?
  • Is the person motivated to do the work?
  • Will this person fit into the team, including the management style?

It’s just as difficult for employers to find the best candidates for the jobs they’re offereing as it is for candidates to find the best employers and entry level jobs. Scot Herrick has provided some guidelines for employers that may make attracting the most talented – and qualified – candidates a little easier.

Originally posted by Candice A

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