Each week, we talk to an increasing number of employers who want to hire but can’t find the right candidates to fill the positions. Or they find the perfect candidate only to lose them to a competitor. How can this be? The labor shortage isn’t supposed to start until later this decade. The truth is it’s here now, and it’s only going to get more challenging as time goes by. That’s why I’ve been writing for months about how it’s time to position your organization as an employer of choice.
This month, I’d like to focus on job descriptions as an effective recruiting and management tool. Whether you’re a small business or a large, complex organization, the value of a great job description is the same. It outlines the parameters of the job, describes the skills necessary to perform the job, states the expected levels of performance, and if you really do it well, fits the job into the organization’s strategic goals. The job description can give the job purpose and make it more enticing to candidates.
What are some common problems with job descriptions? First, too many jobs don’t have one or they’re outdated; the description hasn’t changed as the job has changed. To effectively use job descriptions in the hiring process, consider these tips:
• Before recruitment begins, make sure a complete and thorough job description is in place. If one doesn’t exist, create one before hiring commences.
• Identify the skills needed to perform the job, and prioritize them. Remember, there are some things that can be taught on the job if you’ve found an otherwise great candidate. Don’t discount an applicant for not having one of the lesser skills, particularly if it can be learned fairly easily.
• Don’t over inflate the education and experience needed to perform the job. You don’t want to inadvertently screen out talented applicants.
• Think of job descriptions as communication tools for your organization. Give them personality. A good job description helps the candidate visualize the work and its importance to the employer.
When properly implemented, job descriptions can truly improve your hiring process by providing the following benefits:
• The number of applicants who are a good fit for the job will increase. Candidates armed with information will be more likely to be competent and motivated.
• The accuracy of the interview is improved. When you know what you’re looking for, the quality of questions improves.
• Compelling advertisements help recruit attractive candidates and can be written based on a good job description.
Most importantly, a great job description ties the job directly to the strategic vision and departmental objectives. The job then looks more attractive to the candidate. If this is accomplished, you’ve successfully taken the steps toward being an employer of choice. IBI