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Want the Perfect Candidate? Write the Perfect Job Description

June 20th, 2014

If you want to find the best candidate for your company and open position, the best place to start is with an effective job description. Regardless of the industry or the level of the position, a perfect job post accomplishes three goals:

  1. It sells the position and the company, sharing necessary information but also boosting the company brand. After all, those who see the post aren’t just potential employees; they’re also potential customers.
  2. It lists the credentials and personal traits the candidate will need in order to step into the position and thrive.
  3. It attracts the most qualified candidates while allowing inappropriate ones to self-select and move on without applying.

Is your job post doing all three of these things effectively? To find an answer, check your track record. How many hiring home runs have resulted from this and similar posts? And how many hiring mistakes, inappropriate candidates, and mismatched resume submissions have resulted from this strategy?

If your current job posts are doing the trick, congratulations! But if they aren’t, a few tweaks to your job posts can do wonders to reduce your hiring, staffing, and turnover problems. Try these tips:

  1. Gather data before you write. Make a list and describe every detail of your ideal candidate. Then get buy-in and approval of the list from everyone who will work closely with this employee.
  2. Show respect. Attract great candidates with honey, not vinegar. Don’t publish a rude or forbidding post, no matter how challenging you think the position may be. If you do this, you’ll discourage the confident and attract the desperate.
  3. Be concrete and specific. Don’t bore readers and waste space by requesting a “hard worker” or a “high-energy go-getter.” These terms mean nothing and they describe every candidate in the world. Stick to the real challenges and needs of the position.
  4. Brag a little. Everyone wants to join a winning team. Let your potential employees know about your awards, your excellent reputation in the industry, and the bright future that lies ahead for your organization.
  5. If you want a wide pool, keep it short. Provide vital details only. If you want a narrow pool of highly focused specialists, you can present a longer list of requirements, preferences, and pluses.
  6. Provide clear, simple application directions. If your process takes an hour to complete or the link to your submission site is broken, the most talented candidates with lots of other options won’t struggle to find a work-around—they’ll just move on.

For more information on how to attract the top candidates in your industry, reach out to the staffing experts at Merritt.


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