A lot of companies are moving away from the "Post and Pray" approach, but unfortunately, there is still a fair share of companies out there that are spending too much money on this "methodology". How many times have you talked to a client and they don't have a job description and expect you to work on the role or send you a job description with a few sentences about needing to be detail oriented?
If you think of posting a job online, think of it as a personals ad... who are you trying to attract? What does your description say about your company (or you)? What is standing out in your description to make someone want to respond?
I conducted an experiment. I joined a personals website and posted a very vague ad with poor grammar and misspelled words. Not surprisingly, I received very few responses, some very funny ones and of the ones that did respond were not even close to someone I would be interested in.
Next, I revamped my ad and went into specifics about me, what I was looking for. I essentially painted a picture where the potential "candidate" could visualize and see themself in. The results were much more abundant, fit the expectations, and brought out some creative responses.
Once that was completed, I re-created the same experiment on Careerbuilder and not surprisingly, got the same results.. it's all about your attraction campaign.
Guidelines on what to include in job descriptions has evolved over the years, making it simpler for employers to write them and for potential applicants to read them, however a lot of clients will rely on you to do this for them. Here are 8 essential details to include when writing a good job descriptions:
Job Title & Summary:
Develop a job title for the position you’re looking to fill — the title and level (assistant, senior, lead, etc.) should accurately reflect the work that the employee will perform. Be sure to choose a job title that reflects your industry’s standards and organization’s culture. Once you’ve defined the position, write a brief description of the purpose of the position and an overview of the position’s main responsibilities. This summary should be short and to the point — one to three sentences should be good.
List all of the essential functions of the position at hand. Generally, this includes between five and 10 responsibilities. Begin each responsibility with a present-tense, action verb — “research social media trends” or “mock up new UI graphics” are good examples. This helps applicants form an idea of what a typical day may look like.
Department & Supervisor:
Include details on who the person would report to and where that person falls within the company’s structure. This is not a person's name.. an example would be: Report's to VP of Marketing within the new product development group.
Skills & Qualifications:
Again, this is where you hook a candidate's interest. Detail the qualifications that are mandatory, along with those that are preferred. These should include skills, years of experience, certifications, licenses, education level and necessary technical proficiencies. The more information, keywords and buzz words will attract more candidates. Remember, candidates search for jobs based on keywords.. if your job description doesn't have any, your job will not show up in search engine searches.
What makes this company unique and why would someone want to work there? While it is ideal that a candidate would already know essential details about the hiring company, it is helpful for potential applicants to have a description of the company (as written by the company) at hand. Include information about the company’s mission, goals, industry and headquarters location.
Include details on where the position is located. If travel is necessary, note what percentage of time the employee will spend traveling and where he or she will be traveling.
Type of Employment:
Be very clear about whether the position is full-time or part-time. If the position is an internship, note whether it will be paid or unpaid — be sure that the internship follows the six federal legal criteria if it is unpaid.
If the client has a great Benefit package.. be sure to highlight them.. those can be a make or break perk that draws the candidate in. Benefits (such as 401(k), vacation days, or medical and dental insurance)
Every job needs a "Teaser" to draw the candidate into read the rest of your job description. It needs to be concise and to the point with enough details to make the reader keep reading.
Some Great examples borrowed from Zappos:
You’re a master at turning ideas into solid UX deliverables. Whether the initial concepts come to you as a detailed 40 page document or scribbled on the back of a napkin you know what steps to take to turn them into exceptional experiences.
You know there’s no “I” in “TEAM” but there is in “Innovation.” You have a team oriented, collaborative approach to user experience design.
You’re able to communicate ideas and concepts clearly and concisely. You know collaboration is key but design by committee run amok can be the death of a good UX design.
You are more flexible than an Olympic gymnast and able to shift gears faster than this years’ Daytona 500 winner. You know that being part of an innovative culture means rapid and constantly shifting priorities. You live for the challenge of it.
Your real-world experience has taught you that “best practices” can be a dirty word. You understand usability best practice rules inside and out – so that you know when it’s appropriate to break them.
You’re interested in blazing new trails and establishing new practices that work specifically for our unique environment.
You celebrate failure. You know that failure is critical to innovation and you learn more from your mistakes than you do from your successes.
You are able to interpret needs, objectives, and direction from multiple sources of input (you speak both “geek” and “marketing-ese” fluently).
You are so into online shopping and ecommerce that you have completely forgotten where your local shopping mall is.
The moral of the story.... You attract what you put out in the world.. meaning, if you want to attract top talent, make sure your job description/advertisement reflects that. How can you expect to hire an A player if your job description is a D?