Artisan Blog

Writing Better Job Descriptions

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Writing Better Job Descriptions


“We are looking for…”

Hiring Managers - do you really know what you are looking for?

We post a lot of job descriptions to their Open Jobs page. Most of them could be described as formulaic: we are looking for a ___________ to do ____________, reporting to _______________ with the following experience... 

This is a concise, straight-forward approach informing potential candidates about what the role will entail and, more importantly, what's required to apply.

But, if you're not a recruiter who is used to writing job descriptions on a daily basis, it's important to consider a few key items when writing your job description if you want to ensure you attract the perfect candidate:

Don’t list every single task your candidate needs to perform from day one.  Instead, identify the key responsibilities your candidate MUST be willing (and qualified) to do daily. Remember it will take any new hire time to get up to speed in a new role. Your aim is to identify potential employees who can minimize that learning curve as much as possible.

Make sure that the title you list is exactly what your company needs. Remember to choose one that portrays an accurate description of the role, despite what internal policies require the position be named.  If it's a new role for your organization, do a little research to see how the job market is searching for this kind of position. You want to make sure talent can find your opportunity. 

With SEO and Social Media playing a huge role in the job searches of today, it's important to ensure that your job description will be seen by as many eyes as possible.  Using accurate keywords and/or "buzzwords" throughout your job description will help increase its exposure.  Don't forget to include the titles of people this person will work with/report to, the industries or brands they will manage, the programs they will use or the trends they should be following.

Spread the Wealth
If you are seeking to fill more than one role, before you post, make sure you have thought about all the ways the work could be distributed. Maybe a different combination of skillsets could fit a more senior-level person and entry-level candidate, rather than two mid-level hires.

Before you require a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, think about what skills that individual would have and whether someone without that degree might still have the skills you need.  If a skill is "nice to have" but not "required" - make a point of noting the difference. 

There are definitely some absolutes when hiring and only you can say what yours are. But with so many talented people ready and willing to work today, the clearer you are in your job descriptions, the more qualified your candidate pool will be.

Tips for Interviewers

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tips for Interviewers


Helping candidates prepare for interviews is a big part of what recruiters do each day.  However, in screening and qualifying candidates for a variety of positions, recruiters are usually also experts at how to interview too.

Some of the things we’ve previously discussed on our blog - like body language - apply to interviewers as well as interviewees.  However, there are also posts, such as questions interviewers can’t ask in an interview, that are just for you.

We decided to give interviewers a few more tips for finding the perfect candidate:

  • Prepare - Make sure you know ahead of time what you plan to ask the candidates and how you will describe your company and the role.  Don't hesitate to bring notes and be sure to keep the tone positive.

  • Listen - Active listening is essential to getting the information you need. Make eye contact with the candidate and listen to their tone - as well as their words.

  • Ask open-ended questions - Questions that start with "How", "Why" or "Can you explain" are great ways for candidates to tell a story about something they’ve done in the past. Stay away from "yes or no" questions that stop the flow of the interview.

  • Keep track of time - Always leave time in an interview to address any questions the candidate might have about your company and the role.  This will give you some insight about what's important to them.

  • Arrange next steps - If an interview goes well and you think you could have the right person on the other side of the desk, don't be afraid to tell them.  Enlighten them on your current interview process and set up a second interview with other hiring authorities or team members, if appropriate.  If the interview did not go well - or it's too early in the process to determine a fit - let the candidate know when a decision will be made about next interview rounds or hire(s).

The right hire can make a huge difference to the success of your business; the wrong one can stop progress in its tracks.  A good recruiter can help you find candidates with the right credentials and experience, but only you can decide who is the best person to add to your team.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


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