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Starting your recruitment process with a high-quality job description is more important now than ever. As more and more workers are looking for roles that provide meaning and value and contribute to their professional growth, the job description serves as the frontline for attracting the interest of top talent.

In this edition of nSider, Elisa Burgos-Ojeda, Learning and Development Manager at nTech Workforce talks about the importance of job descriptions, and shares some pitfalls to avoid, as well as some best practices to cultivate for a more effective team-building strategy.


What Are the Key Elements of Writing a Job Description? 

According to Burgos-Ojeda a great job description should include standard items like the title, the summary section, the responsibilities and duties, and then qualifications and requirements.

However, says Burgos-Ojeda, the most important information is sometimes left out. This includes answering questions like “What is the reporting relationship? How does this role connect to the rest of the company? How does it fit within the existing organizational structure? And how does it fit in with the existing organizational goals and priorities?”

Moreover, performance measurements also tend to get a little less attention. “Ideally,” says Burgos-Ojeda, “a job description is a living document that will be revisited over time and adjusted to reflect reality.”

Ultimately, a job description is a “tool for communication and alignment,” notes Burgos-Ojeda, “where there is clarity about what is expected of the person in the role, what the responsibilities and accountabilities are going to be.”


What Type of Analysis Can Be Done to Craft an Ideal Job Description? 

Job descriptions set forth the expectations around “alignment, communication, performance expectations, and then guidance for what is expected on both sides,” says Burgos-Ojeda. A good job description should be crafted with the living nature of the document in mind.

In addition, a job analysis should be performed. This analysis should take into consideration any major developments like an “organization shift or a team redesign that necessitates some changes to the job itself, which one would want to reflect in an update to the job description.”

According to Burgos-Ojeda, writing a good job description should always involve “the hiring manager, subject matter experts within the organization,” as well as “a member of human resources that can be involved in the process if there’s any sort of regulation that needs to be complied with.” The same process should be followed when it comes to performing a job analysis and job design for new roles in the organization.


What Are Common Mistakes to Avoid When Creating a Job Description?

Burgos-Ojeda notes that one big pitfall is that “it’s easy for biases to creep in.” As much as hiring managers are aiming toward equity, choosing the correct language can be challenging. Burgos-Ojeda recommends “making sure that any qualifications are as neutrally written as possible, as performance-oriented as possible, instead of focusing on personality.”

One example of misleading or biased language can be “for someone in a sales role, using the word ‘aggressive’ in the description. This could weed out certain populations that don’t identify with that word, but would still be fabulous at the job,” says Burgos-Ojeda.

Best practice, according to Burgos-Ojeda, is to underline the “actual performance indicators that the company is looking for, as opposed to personality characteristics which are not going to be as helpful at the end of the day.” Look for the technical skills and soft skills that the role needs, and focus your job description around those qualities.


How Can You Ensure the Description Attracts Diverse Candidates? 

Evaluation goes both ways when it comes to attracting diverse candidates and demonstrating inclusivity. Potential candidates are also using the job description to screen the company.

“Something I’ve seen done that I like is having hiring managers put in a statement to the effect of, ‘we know that imposter syndrome can stop qualified applicants from applying to the job, so please apply anyway,’” Burgos-Ojeda says.

According to Harvard Business Review, one-third of young people and 70% of people overall are experiencing imposter syndrome in the workplace. Providing an acknowledgment of this phenomenon and asking qualified applicants to apply anyway provides a safety net that can yield a larger pool of exceptional people to help you find the right talent.


How Often Should You Re-Evaluate Your Job Descriptions? 

Job descriptions should be revisited “at least once a year” according to Burgos-Ojeda. This process might be aligned with “performance conversations, during a time of the year designed to check in and see if the description is still accurate to what the person is doing. If not, what does that mean? Does the job description need to be adjusted?”

If your company is growing and looking to hire new team members and is not sure how to start, nTech Workforce can help. From crafting the perfect job description to sourcing the best candidates for the job, our dedicated team of experts is here to serve as a resource for your business.

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