How Job Descriptions Are Hurting Your Recruiting Efforts
Updated: Oct 17, 2018
We asked Kate Morgan from Boston Human Capital Partners, the top founder-nominated recruiter in our 2018 Boston Founders' Short List to highlight an aspect of Boston startup recruiting that most companies get wrong. Kate explains why your focus on a job description is actually hurting your recruiting efforts.
Why you’re writing bad job descriptions
My clients will tell me they are working on a job description when they are ready to kick-off a search for a new hire. It’s a waste of time, as not only do I not use the job description, I probably won’t even read it. Granted, I have years of experience, but I don’t even want my team to use their job description. The reason is that if I have done my job correctly by interviewing the hiring manager, I know how to position the company and how the person will fit into the organization. I can then articulate what they will be doing for the next year. People don’t take jobs they take companies. When they interview they want to imagine themselves working for the company. Job descriptions don’t help candidates to do this.
People don’t take jobs they take companies. When they interview they want to imagine themselves working for the company. Job descriptions don’t help candidates do this.
Write about why you come to work every day
With all the companies we work with, I know that not every client will be sexy. It is my job, and your job as a hiring manager is to position the company in a way that will attract the right people. If your Glassdoor reviews are in the toilet, don’t be surprised when you can’t recruit that amazing cloud architect out of Google.
There is a reason why you took a role with your company and it’s your responsibility to articulate why you come to work every day. Job descriptions force hiring managers into formatting a story that becomes generic. It makes it easy for potential candidates to dismiss the role because it doesn’t tap into the emotional aspect of their decision-making process.
Capture a candidate's impact
As a recruiter, a job description doesn’t help me position a role in a manner that will illustrate what they will be doing. I know you are thinking that you will write the position’s responsibilities in the description, but those are usually bullet points of tactical things the incumbent is doing today.
I can’t recall seeing a description that truly talks about the impact the role has on the company to help propel it into the next phase. People want to know they have an impact; they want to know that they will be integral to an organization. Even the most junior roles will help your company, so take the time to consider how to help them recognize this.
People want to know they have impact; they want to know that they will be integral to an organization.
Help the applicant visualize working with you
I don’t know many managers that enjoy the process of writing a job description and I am not advocating that you don’t pull together written materials. Instead of copying and pasting a summary of your company, bulleting the responsibilities today, and listing candidate requirements, take the time to build out what they will be working on for the next twelve to eighteen months in three to six-month increments. Be as detailed as possible on how they will contribute.
This may be a bit more time consuming, but it will truly help you realize the impact they will have so you can position this impact when speaking to candidates. Share it on your careers page and perhaps add a statement from you or someone from your team on what working for your company means on a personal basis and add a link to their LinkedIn profile. Candidates want to see who they will be working with, so make it easy for them. Don’t think that the pictures of your team on your website is enough. For the most part, companies’ websites show pictures of employees smiling and NOT working.
Candidates want to see who they will be working with, so make it easy for them.
About Kate Morgan
BostonHCP Founder and CEO Kate Morgan revolutionized the recruitment industry when she brought the embedded partner approach to life in 2011. Kate comes alive when she’s solving complex team-building challenges, a BostonHCP hallmark. Kate’s expertise and fluidity within business and tech make her a trusted advisor and an invaluable ally to executive teams in the startup and hyper-growth arenas.