Hiring well. How to find the one
These are the secret job description tips that make the difference
This is not a step-by-step manual on how to write a job description (JD). These are the secret tips that really make a difference in finding the right one. Be transparent, be real.
So out with the old and in with the new.
- Think before you write
- Don't recycle old JDs
- Nail the requirements
- Best practices for style
- Ideas to stand out, including ChatGPT
Shamelessly I copy-paste-edited Sam Topuzes's work. Credits where credits are due; check out the last paragraph.
And the great Oatly, leading by example.
Why it matters
Getting the right talent in matters. We all know that. Keeping that talent onboard matters even more. Nothing as costly as a new hire who quits after a few months in. Speaking from experience.
It all starts with the JD.
1. Think before you write
Spending some time on creating your JD pays off. You'll avoid bad hires by focusing on key traits and behaviors, and you'll identify the right person.
Because of that thinking, your recruitment process will be faster with a lower cost per hire.
Your JD is the determinating factor.
2. Don't recycle old JDs
It’s not good enough anymore to copy-paste an old JD. The key to an effective JD is that you define success in the job and organizational culture.
First. Think about your business goals and how this job supports these. By emphasizing the desired outcomes instead of just what you need them to do daily, you'll distinguish between an exceptional candidate and a candidate who could sufficiently do the job.
Second. Narrow down seniority by describing the desired experience in certain projects, level of complexity, and stakeholder management. Plus, add the level of independence instead of just selecting candidates based on the job title.
Third. Think about your top performers. Who are they? What makes them top performers? Which traits do they have, and list these in your JD.
How to nail the job requirements
After the thinking, you specify.
It's a no-brainer to ensure that all requirements are realistic and relevant to the job. And that these are aligned with the team objectives. There are two types of requirements in the JD.
- Must-haves: what requirements does a candidate need from day one to achieve the desired 90-day objectives? Stick to a maximum of five.
- All other requirements are nice-to-haves, also a maximum of five.
- Are there any skills that the candidate can easily learn on the job? If so, don't add them to the hiring criteria. These double as professional development opportunities.
Consider including a clause in your job description encouraging applicants to apply even if they don’t meet 100% of the requirements.
Development and growth
What can you offer a great candidate in terms of long-term career opportunities? Make sure to add this as a selling point.
This is a step further than the skills that can easily be learned on the job. This is the future and development of the candidate. Learning and growing are one of the reasons young talent chooses a specific job.
Constantly review and improve the JD
Don't stress about creating the perfect list immediately. It is common to revise and improve the JD after the first interviews.
Best practices for style
Below is an excerpt from Sam's blog (see credits), completed with some other tips and tricks.
- Try to keep to 600-700 words in total. Simple sentences in normal human language perform the best. And use pronouns like ‘you’ and ‘we’ instead of ‘the ideal candidate’
- Add some visuals, video, or even audio
- Paragraph: Start with a high-level overview of the job's objectives and how they relate to your team's objectives
- Bullet points: Explain what they will be doing; include here unique and specific tasks and long-term challenges as well as day-to-day tasks
- Bullet Points: Must-have and nice-to-have criteria
- Bullet Points: Benefits offered, salary range, and career progression outlook
- Make sure you don't have only bullet lists; variation between three to four paragraphs and bullet lists is key
- Include the diversity statement
- How to apply and the option B: personal contact with the recruiter
Ideas to stand out
- Add strategic objectives
- Describe the team’s culture so the right candidate can picture how your team collaborates
- Are there any unique and specific challenges of this role? Definitely add those
- Make sure you add the growth and development path in the JD. You don't hire for right here and now; you hire for the longer term
- Make it personal and not too rigid forcing the candidates into a recruitment tool
Use ChatGPT for ideation
You can even use ChatGPT to understand what candidates might expect. Go there and type in “pretend I am a sports physiotherapist and persuade me to take a job at your company.” Take that input and customize it for your team. You’d be surprised how helpful of a starting point free tools can provide.
Why read it? Because you want to get the best talent in the market. And Sam explains how to nail it. From preparation, structured hiring, not recycling old JDs, and preparing for the interview to the ad itself and best practices.
Oatly leads by example
They didn't stick to the 5-by-5 requirements bullet list or the 700 words. Yet, they're Oatly and can get away with it due to their characteristic witty tone of voice.
First, a screenshot of the www with the JD. Second, a screenshot of their application Qs.
These are the secret tips that make a difference. Go for it and use it to your advantage. So out with the old and in with the new.