The majority of job descriptions don’t actually describe the job.

There’s no information about projects, current deadlines, company culture, objectives, goals… nothing.

Most look a little like this:

“We are looking for a (some general job title) who has the following set of skills (list of general skills) with (required level of education and years of experience). Please submit your CV.”

Sound familiar? Pretty boring, don’t you think?

It’s easy to forget that job descriptions have to convince someone to apply. They may have an administrative function, but they’re ultimately adverts for your company and it’s essential to remember that!

This standard job description subsequently provides the framework for the interview, which for most organizations is equally as boring. Unfortunately, this format and approach to hiring is very predictable within most organizations. And six to nine months after the candidate in hired, we become perplexed when the person just doesn’t seem to fit.

The job description is your chance to connect with potential quality candidates. And first impressions matters.

Right candidates are hard to find, so don’t make it harder on yourself by writing an uncompelling job description.

So, employers have to rethink the approach to job descriptions and interviews.

Here’s a framework to help you create an attractive job description:

1.Start With the Core Purpose of the Position

A first important step is starting with the core purpose of the position and so by clearly understanding your hiring need. Infact by starting with the purpose, you are establishing expectations of how you want and need the individual to “show up,” which is imminently more important than technical skills.

2. Know What Makes the Position Exciting and Communicate it Clearly

Job descriptions usually carry a sentence or two about the company but that doesn’t tell a potential employee what they need to know. There are three questions your updated success profile should answer:

Why does this job matter to the organization? Why should they work for you or the company? How will they grow?

You’ll have greater success in attracting candidates and you’ll weed out under-performers if you use this approach. If a candidate is happy in their current role, they may not be interested in leaving for what may appear a lateral move. When they see the specific expectations of the role or the type of organization you have, it will increase their likelihood to move if it seems appealing. Additionally, if the outcomes are too big for the candidate now, it will weed them out up front.

If it’s a job that almost every company like yours has, go beyond summing up daily duties, and give applicants a reason why they should want to work for you.

This process will help will clarify expectations, upgrade your candidate pool, refine the recruiting process, and lay the groundwork for your talent management programs — and you’ll have a happier employee when there are no surprises.

3. Be Clear and Avoid Clichés

It’s hard to write a great unique job description, but nothing worth doing is ever easy. Don’t just quickly come up with a generic job description. Don’t use clichés such us “looking for a team player” and “great attention to detail and communication skills,” could mean anything.

Infact how many times have you seen the buzzwords “must communicate well,” “critical thinking,” “fast-paced environment,” or “must be team player” on job descriptions?

Omit the vague language and state what you mean. If you are unable to explain what you mean by “critical thinking” or any other buzzword you use, it doesn’t have a place on the description. Don’t fill it with what you cannot measure, or what you are unable to explain.

Be short, clear and different because, if your job description is so vague, you will be inundated with totally unqualified applications. This is a serious waste of your time.

4. Use Storytelling to Show What Makes Your Company Culture Attractive

Job descriptions should shine a light on your own, unique blend of company culture and employer brand. What makes you different to competitors, why should a candidate apply to your ‘Marketing’ role not someone else’s.

Eye tracking research shows that candidates really care about this — roughly 30% of their time browsing job descriptions is spend reading about the company itself. They want to understand what life is _really _like at your company.

Do you blame them? In most cases, job applications are big life decisions. People want to understand as much as possible about the place they’re going to spend 40+ hours a week at.

Spending time outlining your working environment has an added bonus. You should attract more candidates who are a good cultural fit for your organisation.

Here are a few things you should consider when adding your company story:

Ø Company Culture

Ø Working Environment

Ø Targets & Challenges

Ø Fun Perks — E.g. Office dog / Free Bar

Ø Other Perks — E.g. Visa Sponsorship

5. Change Duties to Key Deliverables When Possible

When you define what you consider to be superior performance for the role, you can change your duties into a deliverable:

Don’t say: Responsible for new business sales in the Western Division. Instead Say: As our new Sales Manager, you will be expected to increase new business sales by 20% in the Western Division to include adding one new territory within 12 months.

Do you see the difference? With clearly defined expectations, your interview will be transformed from mundane questioning into powerful discussions.

The applicant already knows what is expected of them and if you agree that past performance is an indicator of future success, this sets the stage for that discussion in the interview. Your interviews will be more meaningful when you are able to speak about success and expectations.

Originally published at— Published on January 31, 2018