Avoid These Three Job Description Mistakes


Whether you're working with a staffing agency to find your next job candidate or going it alone, writing a compelling job description is no small task. An accurate, well-written job description can help you avoid sifting through hundreds of poorly qualified applicants in search of the right match. Here are three big mistakes to avoid when writing a job description.

Describe the real job, not the ideal job. It can be tempting to turn a job description into a wish list of the perfect job and the perfect candidate. But this isn't fair to job applicants or to the rest of your team. If your code base is written in .NET but you wish it could one day be ported to Python, then make sure you're hiring a qualified .NET developer and not someone whose sole focus is Python. If your team follows waterfall methodologies, then don't write a job description touting Agile methods that will never be used. The job description needs to accurately reflect what the candidate will be expected to do.

Every skill isn't critical. Ideally, you'd like to find and interview candidates who know how to do everything you need. But if you write a job description requiring 50 different skills, you'll never find the perfect match and you may even discourage qualified candidates from applying. Instead, list the top 10 or 15 critical skills that a new hire will need. Then list another 10 or 15 skills that would be nice-to-have. These could be skills that are only required once in a while, that are easy to learn in a few weeks, or that are currently handled by other team members. You'll find yourself with more qualified candidates to choose from with this approach.

Always get a second opinion. Always have other people read the job description before you post it online or submit it to a staffing agency. Not only will they catch spelling and grammatical errors, but they'll also notice any missing information or confusing wording. They can even judge if the tone is appropriate (is it professional, too dry, or too funny?) and if the description is accurate.

You could be just a few clicks away from the right candidate reading and replying to your job description. Contact us to learn more about how the right job description can bring you hiring success.


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