Sourcing: Crafting a Job Description

Posts on job boards are like nightclubs of the hiring world. Each one wants the best and most people to come inside. Your job description can either bounce people at the door or invite them inside. Without the right message, the perfect candidate may walk right by, or worse, be encouraged to leave. So how do you get them to come in? Well, would you rather explore a concisely descriptive Job Title or spiraling HR jargon? You don’t have to make it ‘interesting’ with large bold font and enough exclamation points to make a 12-year-old Beiber fan sound morose.

You have something job seekers want, show them. Just have the decency to do it clearly and honestly.

Job Description: Nuts and Bolts

Your job description needs to describe a few basic elements.

  • Job Title

Develop a title based on that role’s main function or job. Strike a balance between overly vague, “Director,” and obstructively specific, “Finance Director of Marketing Integration and Collaborative Efforts at 34 Sycamore Drive.”

  • Department
  • Pay Grade

Different budgets follow different departments. Clearly define this position’s department and the pay coming along with it. A murky pay scale description will quickly scare off great applicants. Don’t waste time tiptoeing.

  • Supervisor

Who will the applicant report to? You don’t need specific names, since those can obviously change abruptly, but give specific titles. Be clear in where the position falls on the corporate ladder.

  • Location
  • Travel

This can be obvious, but state clearly where the job operates if your company has multiple locations. Describe the travel involved if any comes with the deal too. Nobody wants to be surprised with, “Travel: 75-80% of the time.”

Your position or company probably requires a level of schooling so say it. List the experience that you prefer or require and state if either of the two can substitute (IE: Master’s degree OR 3-4 years working experience). Likewise, say if you require both.

  • Time requirements
  • Physical requirements

Clearly state if the position is full-time, part-time or an internship. State if the internship pays or not. If not, ensure that it follows the legal guidelines.

Describe the physical demands of the position but consciously use impersonal language (a good rule for the entire description). You should describe the position and its needs, not the capabilities of an individual. Describe the position, not what an incumbent makes it.

  • FLSA

The Fair Labor Standards Act covers a number of employment issues from minimum wage to child labor. Exemptions exist though, so take note. Make sure to define the position’s eligibility for overtime pay or minimum wage.

Job Summary and Purpose

The job summary can still be imagined as a nut or bolt, but it also allows you to describe the position with some personality. Use one, two or three paragraphs to summarize what the employee will do in his or her role. Specifically detail daily routines, functions and responsibilities as well as duties occasionally completed by the job filler. Be consistent with “usually” and “sometimes” too.

You have the most freedom in the summary to weave in some company personality. Choose your vocabulary and style wisely and you may be able to convey your company’s brand without having to say it. Throw in a couple umbrella sentences that allow the position to change responsibilities and grow with the company and you’ll be all set.

Hurry Up and Take Your Time

The Job Description can be your best opportunity at attracting talent as well as a legal document keeping you safe from employee lawsuits. Cover your bases, honestly describe the position and concisely state what your company wants. Spend the extra time crafting a well-written Job Description and save time rewriting it later.

Who knows? Make your description attractive enough and you may take someone home at the end of the night. Follow our  advice and you won’t wake up with a hangover (or a regret).

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