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Is Your Organization Overlooking the Real First Step in the Recruiting Process?

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It’s not glamorous. It’s frequently overlooked. And, it’s likely to make the difference between a timely, quality hire and a persistent recruiting problem. We’re talking about the job definition. According to our recently released talent acquisition report, based on a survey of nearly 7,000 employers and job seekers around the world, respondents who are most satisfied their organizations’ recruiting process (the “high performers”) also report that they pay significant attention to the details of job definition. Other organizations seem to lag behind.

This disparity of performance is no surprise. In many organizations, job definitions are still frequently taken for granted as an element set apart from the talent acquisition process. In fact, the job definition is one of the most important factors in effective recruiting, setting the tone and determining activity for everyone in the hiring process. A careful consideration of job requirements should involve all stakeholders, including both the hiring manager and the talent acquisition organization. Often, there will be a give and take, particularly when considering essential and “nice-to-have” requirements.

Even for descriptions that are frequently used, a careful re-examination of criteria can yield improvements in attracting qualified talent. These criteria may vary due to a number of changing factors, from locations to talent supply and evolving employer needs. In the most dramatic case, the hiring manager may rethink the role with help from the recruiter to better attract the right talent. At the very least, early collaboration will ensure that the recruiter and hiring manager understand the role requirements, as well as understand the organization’s level of flexibility in those requirements. Lessons from the survey point to three areas for improvement, including:

Conveying the Requirements

The first and most basic goal of the job description is to convey the role’s requirements. Notably, 82 percent of high performers say their job descriptions are always easy to understand while only 45 percent of others say the same. Likewise, 75 percent of high performers cite the highest emphasis on accuracy and appropriate level of detail, compared to 40 percent of other employer respondents.

Selling the Company

Beyond defining the role, descriptions must also sell the opportunity, conveying the value of working for the company. With this in mind, 74 percent of high performers cite the employer value proposition as a key part of all their job descriptions, compared to only 29 percent of others. Similarly, 70 percent of high performers provide insight into their company culture in descriptions, compared to only 32 percent of others.

Setting Expectations

Finally, expectations in terms of accomplishment and compensation often make or break a job description and its ability to attract the right talent. In this area, the gap between respondents is also significant, with 63 percent of high performers saying their roles are created in tandem with a 30-, 60- or 90-day plan for the position while only 16 percent of others say the same. Finally, 74 percent of high performers, compared to only 33 percent of others, say that compensation for a role always reflects its responsibilities.

The act of carefully establishing role definitions, requirements, and descriptions is the real step one in recruiting, but it is also a step that shouldn’t be left behind once completed. Even the most basic assumptions about a role may change over time, and lessons from each recruiting effort can go a long way toward driving improvements that yield faster, higher quality results.

Download our report, “Staying in Front: An Inside Look at the Changing Dynamics of Talent Acquisition,” to learn more about the best practices driving talent acquisition leaders today.

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