Top 5 mistakes companies make with job descriptions
Updated: Oct 8
Poorly written job descriptions can lead to confusion, dissatisfaction, a misalignment in expectations and leave a company at compliance risk.
Here are 5 mistakes to avoid when creating & updating job descriptions
As companies compete for top talent in today's job market, the job description has become critical in the internal and external hiring process. A well-crafted job description can attract the right candidates and lead to a successful hire, while a poorly written one can lead to confusion, dissatisfaction, and a mismatch in expectations. Here are the top 5 mistakes companies often make with their job descriptions that you should attempt to avoid.
Mistake #1 - Vague or unclear job titles
One of the most common mistakes companies make with job descriptions is using vague or unclear job titles. Titles like "Manager" or "Specialist" can be ambiguous and fail to communicate the specific duties and responsibilities of the job. This can lead to confusion among job applicants and make it difficult for companies to attract the right talent.
Example: A company looking to hire a software engineer lists the job title as "Technical Specialist." The job title does not provide any detail or insight into the specific skills or experience required for the position, leading to confusion among potential applicants.
Mistake #2 - Including too many qualifications or requirements
Another common mistake is including too many qualifications or requirements in the job description. While it's essential to communicate the skills and experience needed for the job, including too many can make the job seem unattainable and discourage qualified candidates from even applying. Keep the qualifications and requirements focused on what is necessary for the position.
Example: A job posting for an entry-level marketing position requires the candidate to have a Bachelor's degree in marketing, three years of experience, and proficiency in five different software programs. This may discourage otherwise qualified candidates who don't meet all the requirements from applying.
Mistake #3 - Focusing too much on responsibilities and not enough on outcomes
Job descriptions that focus too much on responsibilities and not enough on outcomes can also be a turn-off for potential candidates. While it's important to communicate the day-to-day tasks and duties of the job, candidates want to know what they will achieve and how they will contribute to the company's success.
Example: A job description for a sales position lists the duties and responsibilities of the job but fails to communicate the expected outcomes, such as increasing revenue or acquiring new clients.
Mistake #4 - Using biased language
Using biased language in job descriptions can also be a mistake that turns off potential candidates. Biased language can include gender-specific pronouns or words that suggest a preference for a certain age, race, or nationality. This can make candidates feel excluded and may even be illegal.
Example: A job posting for a sales position uses masculine pronouns exclusively, such as "he" and "his," giving the impression that the company prefers male candidates.
Mistake #5 - Failing to update job descriptions
Finally, failing to update job descriptions can be a major mistake that leads to confusion and mismatched expectations. Job responsibilities and requirements can change over time, and failing to update the job description can lead to misunderstandings between the company and the new hire.
Example: A healthcare organization hires a new employee for a nursing position but fails to update the job description with new skills and certifications required for the position, leading to unqualified hires and compliance risk for the healthcare organization.
Avoid these mistakes & improve your hiring effectiveness
Job descriptions are an essential part of the hiring process. Companies need to ensure that they are well-crafted and up-to-date. By avoiding these common mistakes and taking the time to create clear and concise job descriptions, companies can attract the right talent and make successful hires.
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