Better Job Descriptions for Better Hiring

While not a required aspect of the hiring process, a proper job description can be the difference between a well-oiled machine and total pandemonium. Unfortunately, what can be a pivotal document often becomes overburdened with legalese, tired phrases, and a profound lack of inspiration.

Here are a few ways you can attract inspired candidates and ensure that your employees are familiar with their job responsibilities without talking them to death.


Write Exciting Descriptions

The hallmark of the 21st-century company is an exciting, unique, and often quirky mission statement that sums up your business’ purpose. If you aren’t communicating this statement in your job description, you’re probably missing out on the kind of talent you actually want to hire. To that end, your job descriptions should include exciting language that is representative of your brand.

It’s also not a bad idea to change the tone of your job description to match your company culture. For example, if your company has a relaxed dress code and tends to frequent happy hour on Fridays, consider opting for a less formal style of writing when crafting your document. The usual departments will probably still have to weigh in with area-appropriate language, but what remains of your tone will surely stick in the minds of prospective new hires.

Of course, it’s possible to overdo your quirkiness and scare off anyone looking for a serious, millennial-minimal workplace, so make sure your description doesn’t sacrifice completeness or accuracy for brand-related humor.

Revise, Revise, Revise

The average job description goes through several revisions between the time it leaves your hands and the time it reaches your posting medium. In most cases, your business’ legal department, HR department, and recruiting department will want to look over the statement and add anything you’ve left out—often leaving a confusing and unpolished document as a result.

The best thing you can do to mitigate any confusion now being communicated by your job description’s many authors is to make sure the final revision comes from you. Naturally, you won’t want (or be able) to remove the technical requirements, but you can ensure that the theme of your initial draft is both reflected and highlighted in the final posting.

Create Purposefully

Of course, a job description should do exactly what its title implies: describe your employees’ jobs. More specifically, employees should have the ability to glance at their respective job descriptions and know within seconds if they are qualified and a fit culturally. This, in turn, should help lower employees’ confusion and stress levels, thus making their work experiences more positive overall.

After the hiring process, you can also use employees’ job descriptions as quasi-checklists during performance reviews which—while controversial—certainly can help improve your business on an individual level.

On the other side of the employee friendliness spectrum, a well-written job description can serve to cover your bases in the event that you need to fire someone; as long as the employee in question violated the terms of the job description, you can usually release them without fear of an unlawful termination suit. For guidance on hiring, termination, and job descriptions, learn more about Abacus Payroll’s HR Help Center.

Finally, intentionally written job descriptions may help employees re-center themselves amidst chaotic circumstances; virtually every company has at least one “busy time of the year”, and it’s all too easy to forget one’s place in the machine during such stressful times. Craft complete job descriptions to ensure that your employees can refocus and refresh by reviewing the criteria of their jobs.

Meet the Minimum

You probably already know what goes into a minimum job description—a brief list of qualifications and duties, an NDA statement, and so on—but to craft a truly exceptional description, you have to focus on actively promoting your company’s assets. Any successful job description absolutely needs to contain all of the following information:

  • Job responsibilities
  • Necessary past experience
  • Rigors of the job
  • Relevant policies (e.g., drug and alcohol)
  • Compensation and benefits information
  • Fringe benefits (e.g., parking spaces)
  • Pay scale (if available)
  • Information that makes your company unique

That last point is especially important: Your company should stand out as a desirable work environment, so make sure that you’re playing up your company culture as much as possible without being overly corny (unless that’s your brand voice!).

You might want to introduce other minor pieces of information such as a sample daily itinerary; after all, the more your prospective employees know about their potential work days, the more focused your hiring pool will be.

Your company may not require by law a job description document, but creating one—or revising your current document—will serve to improve exponentially employee focus, accountability, and awareness.

Abacus Payroll’s HR Help Center has job description guidance and templates for an assortment of positions and industries. For more tips on crafting a grade-A job description, call Abacus Payroll at (856) 667-6225 today!

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