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The Most Important Job Description Advice


Robby

Instead of a post for people seeking jobs in Indianapolis, how about one for those writing Indianapolis job descriptions? I’ve got one piece of advice which is so important for hiring managers, company owners (and people looking for jobs too) that it must be said. I can also summarize it only fourteen words.

Here it is:

The quality of candidates who apply will match the quality of the position description.

That means if you write a position description which says:

Sales pro needed. $50K base + commission. Flexible hours.

The true “sales pros” aren’t going to apply.

Keep in mind that quality is not the same as quantity. Here’s a posting I found (with details changed to protect the guilty):

Job Title: Senior Counsel
Indianapolis IN — ABC staffing is working with a retail company seeking a Senior Level Attorney to join their in-house legal department. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of 5+ years of experience including large law firm AND in-house experience with a retail company. This role will support all legal needs for Retail Operations division with a special emphasis on regulatory compliance. The successful candidate will have experience with regulations relating to food sales, liquor licensing, tobacco, WIC and EBT compliance. Pharmacy compliance experience is a plus. Other responsibilities will include contract review and negotiation, administrative hearings, license review and potentially litigation management. Client offering very competitive salary and bonus potential as well as relocation reimbursement.

This is better than the one-line job description but it’s still pretty bad. Why is this a terrible job description, my Indianapolis job seeker friends? Mainly because of all of the qualifiers. Look at a few opening clauses:

  • The ideal candidate will have …
  • The successful candidate will have …
  • Pharmacy compliance experience is a plus.

What are those supposed to mean?

Hiring

If it says “ideal” it’s easy for anyone to say “well, nobody’s perfect so I’ll apply.” If it says “the successful candidate” people might read that as a “the best candidate”, and still apply if they don’t have those elements.

And how valuable is something that is just a “plus?”

Here’s what it might say instead:

Job Title: Senior Counsel
Location: Indianapolis, IN (relocation reimbursement available)
Industry/Role: Retail – In-House Legal Department
Company: Not Provided
Process: Placement managed by ABC Staffing
Salary: Not Disclosed 

Requirements: Candidates MUST have at least 5+ years US-based experience  including work in a large law firm (50+ partners  AND in-house experience with a  retail company (with $100M+ annual revenue). Candidates STRONGLY PREFERRED with ALL of the following: experience with regulations relating to food sales, liquor licensing, tobacco, WIC and EBT compliance. ADDITIONAL PREFERENCE will be given to candidates with pharmacy compliance experience.

Responsibilities: This role will support all legal needs for Retail Operations division with a special emphasis on regulatory compliance. Other responsibilities will include contract review and negotiation, administrative hearings, license review and potentially litigation management.

That’s so much better. Imagine the candidates you might get just by taking a few minutes to consider how you present your job description!

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About the Blogger: Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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