D.I.Y Recruitment: Writing a Job Description that only attracts the BEST.

You’re looking to recruit, you need to replace a member of staff and you need someone fast. This is a massive disruption to you and your team and you need it sorted by, let’s say, yesterday.

You know that there is the option of outsourcing the job to a Recruitment Agency, but you’re keen to give it a whirl yourself first. The less people involved the better.

You dig out the job description you used to recruit the person that’s leaving and get it plastered out on your website, Facebook, Twitter and Linked In. You tell anyone that will listen that you need a new [enter job title here] and get them to spread the word too. You’ll splash out a few hundred pounds on an online job board that guarantees you quick results and hundreds of CVs. Actually, whack it on Indeed too – just for kicks. It’s free, why would you not?

You want to cast your net as wide as you can; in your mind, the aim is to get as many CVs through for your vacancy as possible. Within this collection of people you’ll surely find your dream candidate. Guaranteed.

Or is it? Maybe. Maybe not.

What IS guaranteed, is that you have just added A LOT more hours to your recruitment project.

There is no doubt that you will get CVs through, but will they be right for what you need? You will have to qualify each and every one, leaving no stone (aka the ideal candidate) unturned.

  • You’ll get CVs of people that appear completely unsuitable for the position, yet could be your dream candidate in disguise.
  • You’ll get CVs of people that appear absolutely perfect for the position – on paper. Yet in person they’re not quite the right match.
  • You’ll get CVs of people where it is quite obvious that they have just hit APPLY NOW to every vacancy they have seen today; on the flip side of your recruitment attempts – they too are looking to cast their job seeking net out as far and wide as they can.

In an attempt to work out who the key players are and where your top talent is, you’ll now be faced with the job of sifting through all of these CVs to read between the lines, double check, second guess, assume that they may or may not be the one for you.

You’ll then whittle down from perhaps 100 CVs to 10 people that you want to talk to further.

From that 10, you’ll interview 5.

From that 5, you’ll potentially find your dream candidate.

But what if you don’t?

You up for starting from scratch?

If this was an annoying situation to begin with then whatever is it now?!

I feel for you, I really do. I’ve been there and I have recruited in this way before. I assumed that by advertising a job vacancy of any kind that I would be swamped with CVs; I knew that it would take me a while to wade through them but I also thought that my ideal hire would be somewhere in there. Not the case, they just weren’t.

I had to go back to basics and take a fresh look at things. I realised that in order to attract my ideal candidate, I needed to work a bit harder to appeal to them; I needed to be sure I was being honest and open with the way I was describing my vacancy and I need to be sure that I wasn’t going to attract hundreds of candidates.

Because I only wanted to recruit one!

This is why many Business Owners just like you, have chosen to hand their Recruitment needs over to Me – That sounds boastful; it’s not meant to. I just mean that my aim will always be to provide you with as few CVs as possible to SAVE YOUR PRECIOUS TIME.

Based on the methods I have always worked to when writing job descriptions for my clients, I have put together a list of the TOP TEN things to consider when writing a job description in order receive as FEW CVs as possible for your vacancy. Because, spending time on this at the very beginning of the process is going to be way more productive to you and your business than repeating the ‘scattergun’ approach time and time again.

  1. JOB TITLE: Think carefully about the job title you give the vacancy. Is it really reflective of what the position is all about? Remember if a job-seeker doesn’t quite ‘get’ the job title then they may be put off applying. Keep it simple, straight to the point, it is what it is – don’t try to over-impress. You need a Filing Clerk? Call it a Filing Clerk. Don’t call it a Regulatory Document Coordinator. You need an HR Assistant? Call it that. Not an Internal Personnel Representative. (Oh, and, all this recent trend for adding ‘ninja’, ‘wizard’ or ‘guru’ to a job title? It’s a bit of fun to use words like these when you’re doing a bit of marketing for your recruitment but only IF this is true to the vibe and personality of your company. Are you really in the market for Ninjas, Wizards and Gurus? Or do you just want a straight-down the line Web Developer? Maybe just call it that then…)
  2. ENVIRONMENT: What IS your company vibe and personality? What is your office like? Is it lively, energetic, noisy, buzzing, competitive, dynamic and crazy busy? Or is it quiet, heads-down, peaceful, steady… This is a key time to take stock of the environment you’re recruiting into. Make no apologies for whatever the office vibe is – but be true to it and describe it accordingly to be sure that you’re going to pull in candidates that are going to fit in.
  3. PERSONALITY: Making a similar point to above, think about the personalities of the current team members; who do you have in place right now? Could it do with some balancing out? Don’t be too dead set on this, but be aware of the personality types that are already there and do some thinking around what personal attributes would blend in well, what would be good to call in and what should probably be avoided altogether…
  4. SKILLS GAP: Are there any areas of expertise lacking within your current team? Maybe you need someone that has used a certain type of software before or is really hot on social media management. Could you call out for someone with this when you’re writing your job description? Maybe there are some members of your team that could do with off-loading some of their duties in order to ensure their work performance doesn’t suffer in times of heavy workload. Bringing me on to my next point…
  5. INCLUDE YOUR TEAM: I’m not one for having meeting after meeting just for the sake of it but Recruitment is one of those times where it can be really useful to include your current team in the plans. This can be useful for many reasons; to get straight on where your skills gaps are, to see what would help your existing team members with workload pressures/time constraints etc., as well as letting your team know that their input is valued and appreciated. They can also help to spread the word for you – and by keeping them in the picture in this way, you will help to ensure that they are spreading the word in the right way!
  6. DO NOT SIMPLY ‘REPLACE’: I know the feeling of wanting to just replace the person that has left/is leaving. You just want things to be sorted, as they were – fast. However, I also know that there is no better time to shake things up than when you’re recruiting. Try to see this as a fresh start and an opportunity to bring in some new skills to your business. The familiarity of the person that you’re replacing might seem hard to part from, however the next person to join your team could be someone that brings magical things to your business – if you are open minded enough to let someone new in… Leading me beautifully on to…
  7. BE OPEN MINDED: Be open minded with regards to the background that your new hire could be coming from. You’ve always recruited from within your industry, or from as similar as possible. Is that really essential? Ask yourself for three good reasons as to why. If you can come up with three and back them all up with credible reasons as to why, then fair play – keep doing what you’re doing. IF, however, you start to actually wonder why you’ve always insisted on an industry match then this can be an amazing opportunity to bring someone in with some transferrable skills that could really complement the business. Fresh ideas, new thoughts… Sometimes this can work really well.
  8. THROW SOME DEAL-BREAKERS IN: In contrast to the above, you do need to throw some deal-breakers in. This helps to streamline your wishlist. Don’t go for too many otherwise you could find yourself looking for someone that may not actually exist. But you know your business and you know what will (or won’t) work well within it, so don’t be afraid to call out for someone that is in line with this. Your deal breakers can be anything from personal attributes, to software experience, a language skill or experience from working within a specific industry. You’ll know what you can and can’t negotiate on.
  9. BE SMART WITH YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA: We are in an amazing time where we can connect with people on a whole new level – both with the quantity of people and the manner in which we do it. You have so many tools at your disposal (many of them for FREE) that you’d be crazy not to utilise this. However, just remember that we are also now open to public feedback – and this can be positive or negative. If you’re going to use your business page on Facebook to advertise the fact that you’re recruiting, use it wisely. Be sensitive to the person that has moved on from the position (whatever the circumstances in which they left), keep it professional and be sure to keep an eye on the interaction you’re getting. (This goes for your team as well, going back to point number 5 – as long as everyone is up to speed on what the needs of the business/vacancy are then this shouldn’t be a problem). All of that said, have fun with it – Stand out from the crowd in the way you’re calling out for your dream hire, showcase your brilliant company – give your ideal candidate a look behind the scenes and make them realise why you’re the employer of choice!
  10. BE TRUE TO THE NEEDS OF THE BUSINESS: When all is said and done, the simple fact is that you need to be true to the real needs of the business. All of the above points have their part to play when you’re getting your job description pulled together. You need to work out who your dream candidate is (which you’ll have been working through with all of the points), find where they are ‘hanging out’, attract them to the vacancy, make sure they actually ARE the right candidates, not discount the ones that on first glance look unsuitable, keep the criteria tight so that only the suitable candidates take the time to apply and then create a buzz around the recruitment project with your social media. Simple right?! It’s a pretty big project to handle so it’s really worth getting it right. So my final point is to be true to the needs of your business and where your new hire is going to come in to help you move things forward in the right way. That’s the bottom line. Don’t get so carried away in ‘dressing up’ a vacancy that you lose sight of your actual goal – to fill your Hot Seat with THE RIGHT CANDIDATE.

Hopefully these points will get you thinking about writing your Job Description in a different way and will help you to get something written up that is completely in line with your needs.

I’m always on hand to talk through your staffing requirements and to provide pointers as to where you can improve your recruitment efforts, so do not hesitate to get in touch if this could benefit you and your business.


PS: Stuck with a job description right now? Send it to me, I’ll review it for you. No charge. No catch.

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