Your Company’s Job Description Could Be Costing You

Most companies think a job description is a good thing. After all, they serve to entice candidates to respond to open positions need filling. And (if working correctly) they serve to separate the wheat from the chaff by eliminating unsuitable applicants from the get-go.


But the reality is somewhat different. You see, many job descriptions actually are so poorly written they serve to PREVENT companies from hiring someone for the position. Or, even worse, they result in someone being hired only to leave after six months because the “job just wasn’t what I expected it to be.”

At Key Corporate Services, we spend considerable time with clients to ascertain the requirements of the position before the candidate search even begins. It is essential that we fully understand the intricacies of the position and what skills and experience the perfect candidate needs to bring to the table if we are to find the best talent.

So, what are a few reasons job descriptions could be crippling efforts to fill your position? We offer these examples:

It is too vague

Many job descriptions are so vague, they might as well be written in hieroglyphics. The information provide about the position is minimal and general in nature. Consequently, the company is inundated with applications from those who “think” they might be qualified (but aren’t really sure). Someone from the HR department who probably never worked in that position may have written the job description. Avoid this by making sure people intimately familiar with the job write the description. Someone who has actually worked in that position has ground-level knowledge of the job. They have the insight to include the key performance metrics needed in the description to pre-qualify the candidate.

It’s as outdated as an avocado-colored refrigerator

Like trends in kitchen appliances, job, duties and requirements change over time. A job description may never have been updated after an initial writing. Consequently, it no longer really describes all the requirements for someone to be successful in the position. Not only is this unfair to initial applicants, it can cause costly churn down the road. New hires may realize the job they thought they were being hired for is actually much different than described. Dissatisfied, they leave the company in the first year.

Metrics – if there ARE any – are minimal.

New employees want to be able to measure their performance in the new job. And, their managers need to have concise ways to gauge the new hires performance. What better way to do this than by incorporating clear metrics in the job description?

Clearly defined performance standards and associated timelines should be part of any job description. Tasks and performance standards defined for the first year (and beyond) give the applicant a clear understanding of the scope of the position. It also provides the new employee and his manager a blueprint to follow for performance evaluations down the road.

Writing a good job description takes work and involves a collaborative effort. It will facilitate attracting the best applicants and thereby the top talent. And, after all, isn’t that the real reason to write a job description?


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