By Jim Wong, CPA | October 14, 2013

The people you hire can make or break your business, so it’s vital you find the right fit, and hire a qualified candidate.

But before you even get to search for that top talent, you need a compelling job description. According to The Entrepreneur, a job description should be “an outline of how the job fits into the company.” It should not only point out the position’s major and minor duties, but also define how the job relates to other positions within your organization.

“A job description should be treated much like marketing material, like an ad,” Elli Sharef, co-founder of HireArt, told Christina Desmarais in an Inc. article.

“Generic job titles and standard lists of qualifications, responsibilities, and duties don’t work,” John Younger, CEO of Accolo said in a recent article.

Sharef and Younger both share some tips on how to create a job description that will grab the attention of top candidates.

Before you start, Younger suggests asking yourself:

  • What is the real business need the right person will solve?
  • How will we quantitatively measure success so we can recognize a top performer?
  • What are the common attributes of our top performers — their hard and soft skills, and what do they do in their free time?
  • Why would the right person want this job?

“Answer those questions, and then it’s easy to create a job posting that will attract the ideal candidate,” Younger adds.

Don’t Use a Template
Writing a really good job description takes time. “Lots of employers don’t want to spend that time and instead search the Internet for one written by another company,” says Desmarais. However, the result will be a vague posting that isn’t of use to anyone. Be very specific in each job description: List the “technical skills you can’t live without,” describe the company culture, and let people know what type of candidate would fit in best. Desmarais offers the example of filling a marketing position. She suggests telling potential candidates what ideas they would sell, and what they would need to communicate to a specific audience. “Ideally you want applicants to be excited about the problems you need them to solve, and even start to think of ideas for doing so,” she adds.

Brag About Your Team
People want to know who they’ll be working with, so let potential candidates know who your team is. You can even go so far as to add links to the LinkedIn profiles of team members suggests Sharef. “The people already working for your company can be a great lure for talent,” Desmarais adds.

Play Up Perks
Google is known for their extra perks, so why not play yours up a bit as well? What sets you apart from competitors? Do you have a great vacation policy, health benefits, or 401(k) plan? If so, let potential hires know. Great perks can be just as important as the salary range to some people.

Consider Your Audience
How you write your job description will depend on your audience. First you need to decide what type of person you think would fit the roll. Is it a college graduate? A person with five years of experience? Senior level executives? You wouldn’t write the same description if you were looking for a college graduate and a senior executive. They are at different points in their career.

“Considering that by next year 36 percent of the workforce will be made up of Millennials — Generation Y-ers born in the 80s and 90s — you’d be wise to figure out what’s important to them,” Desmarais says.

An interesting and informative job description will attract qualified candidates, and weed out others who might not be the right fit. If you want top talent and don’t want to waste time interviewing people who don’t meet your needs, then start writing compelling job descriptions.

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