Career : Finding Strong Employee Candidates: Effective Job Descriptions

Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at, researching online college degrees.

In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

It ís a challenge for any manager to find the right employees, especially when the queue of hopeful would-be workers is oversaturated. Most job descriptions and advertisements are receiving responses in excess, making the task of selection longer and more difficult. But what if the interviewing and hiring processes could be made easier by addressing the job descriptions themselves ?

The Role of the Job Description

Often, job descriptions influence potential employeesí first impressions of a company. They are representations of business goals, the quality of a companyís current human resources, the history and future of the business, and what caliber of value employees place on their jobs and on their company. Although they can seem unimportant, job descriptions are windows into the inner workings of a company.

It ís important to control what is seen through those windows. Sloppy, inaccurate, unenthusiastic, badly written job descriptions show the world a shocking spectrum of dirty laundry and can have a considerably negative impact on employment.

Increasing Job Description Accuracy : Preliminary Job Analysis

Before writing a description, it helps to have a firm grasp of the skills and background needed to perform the responsibilities of a specific job. Some managers recommend developing surveys for current e mployees to discern what type of work is being done and which qualities to look for in future candidates.

Some good questions to ask are :-

  • What is the basic purpose of your job and what are your specific responsibilities ?
  • What kind of education and / or experience best prepared you for this job ?
  • What are the necessary pieces of equipment, materials, and / or instruments used in your job ? To what extent do you use them ?
  • Do you supervise other employees ? If so, how many and what are their job titles ?
  • If you were promoted, what type of training would your successor need and how much time might it take to train him / her ( 5 weeks, 6 months, 1 year, etc.) ?

Characteristics of Strong Descriptions

Job descriptions should introduce requisite responsibilities with accurate action verbs that represent the nature of those responsibilities. While unique verbs may seem more descriptive, it is important to minimize the potential for misunderstandings by using words that are familiar to most people.

Some examples are: analyzes, approves, authorizes, conducts, controls, coordinates, develops, evaluates, expedites, inputs, maintains, operates, performs, plans, recommends, schedules, supervises, trains, or verifies.

There are many more effective verbs, but these are some of the most common and successful in the job description enterprise. One more consideration is length. A well-worded, succinct job description inspires better responses than a carelessly edited, lengthy one.

© Copyright 2010 Alexis Bonari

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