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Job Descriptions

Why are your job descriptions so boring! Oh, you have to be compliant? Which law requires your job descriptions to read like stereo instructions? In fact, that's unfair to stereo instructions, my latest stereo purchase basically said, "plug in and enjoy." The law requires that all applicants be evaluated against the same criteria, and that those criteria have no disparate impact (unfairly create bias against a group of people). That does not mean that you must advertise all those criteria, or that they be written in a manner that puts candidates to sleep or worse, chases them off entirely.

Remember that your job is either the only one a seeker will look at on a given day, or one of dozens. If it's the former, the coveted passive job seeker, it had better convince them that you have something to offer better than what their current role is providing. If the latter, your job needs to stand out from the crowd, particularly if you have an intensive application process (but that's a topic for another day). Also bear in mind that job seekers are increasingly using mobile devices to view job descriptions, and may not be willing to scroll through miles of text to find what they are looking for.

Your job descriptions should be clear and concise, but more important they should be candidate focused. Too often, job descriptions are written with a regulatory authority in mind or focused on what a hiring manager needs to get out of their new employee. Certainly, your jobs should be fair an consistent and you should have clear and documented evaluation criteria, but otherwise, be creative! Focus on what a prospective job seeker will gain by working for you. Will they gain new skills, have unique experiences, or overcome great challenges? Ask yourself, "why would anyone want this job", and then set out to answer that question in your job description.

Think about what it really takes to be successful in the role, and consider whether your required qualifications are really accurate. For example, is a Bachelor's degree actually required to be a salesperson on your team, or would a combination of education and experience serve just as well? Think about why you are asking for the knowledge, skills and abilities listed in your advertisement, and consider if they are really required or an unnecessary hurdle.

If you were selling a car, you would focus on the features and benefits of the car, how it will make their lives better; you wouldn't begin by asking if they have space in their garage. Think of a job description as a piece of marketing material rather than a compliance tool, and watch your applicant flow increase.

Need help with your job descriptions? Contact Lucas Berg at Talent Acquisition Concepts; or visit us at

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