INTHEBLACK November 2023 - Magazine - Page 49
Gorton recommends switching perspectives.
The hiring manager should put themselves
in the job seeker’s shoes and write the
job description through the lens of what a
candidate desires, she says.
“Ask, ‘Why would somebody want to apply
for the role?’.”
2. SELL THE COMPANY
What appeals to the job seeker could be found
within the company advertising the role, rather
than the role itself. A job description is a perfect
opportunity to sell the organisation’s strengths
to potential job seekers.
“When you can describe the company and the
work opportunity with a bit of colour – that’s
what catches people’s attention,” Gorton says.
“People may be looking at four or five
different jobs,” adds Geoff Balmer, founder and
director of accounting recruitment specialist
Richard Lloyd. “You need your job spec to stand
out to grab their attention.”
Describing the company culture, salary and
benefits is essential to articulate a company’s
unique value proposition. A job description
should also highlight what differentiates the
employer from its competitors.
“Candidates want to know about a company’s
diversity and inclusion strategy, its ESG
[environmental, social and governance] strategy
and if it is aligned to a charity,” Gorton explains.
Personalise as much as possible so the
job description speaks to job seekers, adds
Balmer. Using an AI tool may be tempting as a
timesaver, but the results are often too generic
to appeal to job seekers.
3. DEFINE THE ROLE ACCURATELY
Every job description should feature the same
essential information – job title, conditions,
requirements, responsibilities, skills and
Poorly written job descriptions contribute to
high turnover among new hires who discover
their expectations of a role do not match the
reality. Well-written, accurate job descriptions
that avoid jargon tend to be more appealing. The
inclusion of relevant keywords can help to ensure
the job description appears in online searches.
“Accurate representation is the key to longterm hiring success,” Balmer says.
Present a breakdown of the duties to help
bring the role to life, says Balmer. “Accountants
are by nature quite analytical. They want to go
away and research the role and feel confident
about the job before they apply for it.”
“Accountants are by nature quite analytical. They
want to go away and research the role and feel
confident about the job before they apply for it.”
GEOFF BALMER, RICHARD LLOYD
4. SET THE JOB SEEKER UP FOR SUCCESS
The inclusion of success metrics in a job
description can allow job seekers to see
themselves in the role, set appropriate
expectations and highlight a pathway for
“It’s good to give people an understanding
of what would make them successful in that
company,” says Balmer. “People want to know,
if they take this job, where will it take them?”
Just as important is including staff
development opportunities in a job description.
Gorton says candidates tend to ask questions
around development, such as “What’s the
business’s take on upskilling, reskilling, and
learning and development?” and “How do I
continue to grow in my role?”.
5. THINK ABOUT COMPETENCIES,
NOT JUST EXPERIENCE
Companies often ask for “a qualification, number
of years of experience, industry experience and
software experience in the job description. What
they don’t look for are the competencies and skill
set of the candidate”, says Balmer.
He says the result is often “a narrow range
of candidates” thanks to limiting and irrelevant
In practice, a candidate’s success in a role is
determined by factors such as their ability to
learn new skills rather than whether they have
experience using specific software.
“Hiring managers should be thinking about a
candidate’s learning ability and growth mindset
versus their industry experience or if they’ve
used a computer system,” Balmer says.
6. WRITE A NEW DESCRIPTION
Balmer says that employers often want a carbon
copy of a previous employee to fill a vacancy.
This can lead to reusing an old job description.
“People often make the mistake of saying,
‘The last person we had was good, so let’s just
get another one of those’,” he says.
Gorton also advises against recycling old
job descriptions. “Organisations evolve over
time, and you need to make sure that your job
descriptions align with where you’re at today,”
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