Putting a job description together seems simple enough, right? But if not constructed precisely, you may find yourself buried waist deep with resumes from candidates that don’t hit the mark, especially in this economy. Thus, the first step is crucial in communicating to prospective candidates exactly what you’re looking for.
While House resorted to numbering his candidates 1 through 40 and slowly eliminating them, specific and detailed job descriptions will lower the chances of having to sort through piles of unqualified candidates. He eventually chose #13, but with much wasted time and effort.
A great way to approach the job description is to think of it as a “reverse resume.” This will help you organize the skills you’re seeking to provide a snapshot of the responsibilities and tasks the job entails. Don’t rely solely on a job’s history as you’re putting together a job description for today. Focus instead on what the job needs to be in light of the organization’s current needs and long-term objectives.
A well-written job description consists of more than a laundry list of the tasks and responsibilities that the job entails. It reflects a sense of priorities.
A task is what the person in the job will actually do. Qualifications are the skills, attributes, or credentials a person needs to perform each task. Clarify the actual tasks and responsibilities before you start thinking about what special attributes will be needed by the person who will be fulfilling those responsibilities.
Credentials (such as degrees and licenses) are absolute necessities in some jobs. The thing you want to make sure of, however, is that whatever credentials you establish have a direct bearing on the candidate’s ability to become a top performer.
The job you describe must be truly doable. When you’re lumping several tasks into the same job description, make sure that you’re not creating a job that very few people could fill.
Last but not least, it’s always a clever idea to review the description with your manager and other team members to be sure you haven’t missed anything.