Long gone are the days of basic job descriptions, ones in which the title of the position was essentially reworded and embellished, giving little effort to the process. Now, job descriptions serve as the initial impression companies make on jobseekers and reflect the brand. Therefore, appropriate time and careful thought should be dedicated to creating job descriptions.
In today’s post-pandemic world, jobseekers desire more comprehensive job descriptions, including clarity, specifics, expectations, purpose, and a deeper understanding of the corporate culture, to pique their interest. In addition, they have numerous options and concerns as the economy fully reopens, so it behooves employers to develop transparent job descriptions that specifically address candidates’ needs. This not only helps better align the two parties but also saves time and resources on both sides if candidates are unqualified or employers are not the right fit.
Recently, the National Federation of Independent Business reported that May was the fourth consecutive month of record-high unfilled job openings for small businesses. In addition, 93% of small business owners reported few or no qualified applicants to consider for available positions in May alone. Therefore, as the competition for top talent continues to increase for employers seeking to fill myriad open positions, business leaders should start with step one: creating captivating job descriptions.
Below are six tips for employers to update and improve their job descriptions.
Emphasize Culture, Mission, and Values
As new generations enter the workforce, it has become critical for companies to highlight their culture, share their mission statement, and outline corporate values within job descriptions. Jobseekers look beyond the tangible benefits to identify the company’s purpose before applying and/or joining an organization. Therefore, emphasizing the attributes that are unique to the organization is important and can make a big difference in attracting top talent. For example, providing paid time off to volunteer in the community, administering a corporate/employee-funded benevolence program for coworkers, and supporting employee recognition programs are differentiating factors that can provide a competitive advantage for employers.
Clarify Working Arrangements
Many workplace changes that occurred during the pandemic are most likely here to stay, such as an increasing number of business leaders embracing remote work, employers implementing a hybrid workplace, and more opportunities for flexible schedules. Because the majority of employees have experienced nearly 18 months of a successful remote working environment, the working arrangement is a significant consideration for jobseekers. While some candidates may wish to continue operating in a remote environment, others might look forward to an office or a hybrid situation. Clearly detailing the requirements in the job description will help mitigate uncertainty and alleviate concerns in the future. If the arrangement is subject to change, this should also be included in the description to avoid any surprises later.
Provide Pertinent Details
Jobseekers’ who are specifically applying for management roles desire clarity because they want to understand the “why” behind the role and what is expected of them. Therefore, proactively providing specific answers to these questions within job descriptions is important. For example, explaining how the role contributes to the department and overall company success, as well as the methods used to measure accomplishments, provides a better understanding of the bigger picture for candidates. In addition, the need for managers to develop new skills and sharpen those acquired during the pandemic to be effective leaders should be addressed. When pertinent details are included in job descriptions, jobseekers have a better idea about whether they are qualified for the position.
Outline Communication Expectations
In a post-pandemic world, job descriptions should entail the type of communication expected from leaders. Sometimes, it can feel like a balancing act for leaders who manage in-person, remote, and hybrid workers. It is much easier for supervisors to manage one or the other— remote or in-person employees—not a mix of both. For example, hybrid working arrangements have the potential to exacerbate communication problems and power imbalances and, in some situations, irrevocably damage relationships. Job descriptions should inform leaders of the types of working arrangements they will oversee to help them delicately balance communications and mitigate disparities.
Provide Workplace Fairness Statement
With evolving workplace arrangements, the issue of fairness should be a standard paragraph in all job descriptions. Workplace fairness involves providing a level playing field for all employees. The paragraph should explain how the company fosters an inclusive environment in which leaders value remote and in-person workers alike, providing individuals with similar tools to effectively perform their jobs and enabling all employees to thrive. Providing a workplace fairness statement will make jobseekers feel more comfortable because they will be better able to understand a company’s position on the matter.
Consult with an HR Professional
While the employment landscape has become increasingly complex, with varying degrees of workplace arrangements, including more out-of-state workers, a best practice is to consult with an HR professional to ensure job descriptions are accurate, in compliance, and fair for all employees.
Effective job descriptions not only are designed to attract top talent but also provide structure to the business and its employees as the company grows. In addition, properly created job descriptions can serve as a tool to develop career paths for employees now and in the future.