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Crafting Job Descriptions to Attract High-Caliber Candidates

With ongoing labor shortages and hiring challenges, keeping your business properly staffed can be a daunting task. According to the World Economic Forum, there are currently more than 10.7 million job openings but only 5.7 million potential employees to fill those spots. With an available job force that can only fill half of the job openings, finding ways to make your operation stand out to job candidates is crucial. Attracting employees begins with company culture which informs how your business is perceived to potential and current employees alike. Discover the steps to bring in and retain quality employees through well-crafted job descriptions with details of your company’s culture and why employees should work for your operation.

Use descriptive job summaries to bring in ideal candidates for your business. Putting an emphasis on company culture during the hiring process can bring in like-minded candidates.

Introducing Culture
Before you can incorporate your company culture into your job descriptions, you need to be sure you understand your company culture from top to bottom. While culture is a set of expectations that contribute to the energy that exists within an organization, there are specific components that must be established and agreed upon by the entire leadership team. Additionally, having a mission or values statement and a set of goals or affirmations that explain how each employee or role contributes to the company’s mission will help everyone on staff understand the expectations as well as any potential candidates. Your company mission should be reflected in the atmosphere that employees contribute to and should be visible to your customers at every level of the organization.

To be sure you are attracting candidates who will contribute positively to your company culture, including your mission statement and goals in each job description is critical. A mission statement is the overall goal you have for your company. For example, “Offering positive customer experience and top quality products to the local community,” is a mission statement for a company that is looking to create a positive environment both within the business and the community. For a business that looks to expand, using words such as “growth” and “expansion” will help convey how you see your company moving forward. Also be sure to explain how the specific role contributes to the company’s goals. Potential candidates will know what the company is about before they begin to look at each specific role they may want to apply to.

First Steps
As you establish the types of employees you want to attract to your business, assess your current job descriptions and what they’re saying about your operation. A well-written job description should cover the job summary and expectations regarding an employee’s tasks and responsibilities in that specific role. It should also emphasize how the employee should act in their role and their expected attitude toward customers or clients, other employees and management.

41% of employees who quit their jobs from April 2021 to April 2022 did so because of a lack of career development and advancement. Setting clear expectations upfront can lead to more applicants because they know what to expect in the role. If the role appears to be a good fit for them, they’re more likely to apply.

According to the World Economic Forum, 41% of employees who quit their jobs from April 2021 to April 2022 did so because of a lack of career development and advancement. That’s why the North American Hardware and Paint Association (NHPA) recommends including a goals section in each job description. This section outlines the role’s daily goals and the potential for advancement. Offering candidates a glimpse at a potential career path is becoming more important for candidates so they can see the effort and engagement they put into that position will be worth the effort.

This is not to say that previous work experience should be ignored. It’s still important to see what kind of work history an individual has to make sure they would, again, be a good fit for your company. For example, if an applicant for a management position has worked in the retail industry before, they could be a better candidate than someone who hasn’t worked in retail.

Word Choice Matters
A job description not only needs to attract employees and emphasize your company’s culture, but it should also show it in the words you choose. Using phrases like “creating an inviting environment for customers” and “helping develop staff” spell out the type of environment you want your staff to build for your customers. If candidates are introduced to your business culture through positive word choice in the job description, then they know what is expected of them and what they can bring to the table.

Putting It All Together
Once you have your job description written, share it where potential employees can find it. Outlets to share your job openings can range from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and even TikTok to job search websites such as Indeed and LinkedIn. Each platform will attract different potential candidates; social media sites are geared toward younger generations, like young millennials and Gen Z, while Indeed and LinkedIn will bring in older millennials and Gen X candidates.

After reviewing candidates’ resumes, invite promising candidates in for an interview. What looks good on paper doesn’t always translate in-person, so interviews, either with just management or other staff members, allow you to see how the candidate handles themselves, interacts with your current employees and how their behavior could translate to your business.

Invite intriguing candidates in for an interview and see how they get along with other staff members and a feel for how they would be on the salesfloor. Now that you understand the basics of what goes into an engaging job description, it’s time to build one. We’ll use the sales associate job description from NHPA’s hiring toolkit, which has over a dozen job description samples, as an example.

By including each of these elements into your job descriptions, candidates will know what is expected of them, what kind of environment they are going to be a part of and contribute to long and short-term development goals for their continued employment with your company.

1. Job Title
The job title is displayed prominently to catch a potential candidate’s interest. It should include who they report to and the typical schedule. Here, we see this role reports to the store manager and is a 40-hour per week full-time position.

2. Job Summary
The job description, or job summary, describes what the position is and who the ideal candidate would be. Our sample clearly outlines the overall job duties and how a candidate is expected to interact with customers and team members.

3. Responsibilities
Responsibilities break down the day to day tasks a potential candidate would conduct as well as any potential responsibilities the job may evolve into based on the candidate and what is required of them at the time. Make sure to emphasize the company’s culture and how candidates are expected to maintain it.

4. Qualifications
Qualifications include any previous job experiences or education you are looking for in a potential candidate. However, keep in mind your company’s culture and how that plays a significant role. You may have to decide between someone who has experience but not the best attitude and someone with less experience but who better fits the company culture. Sometimes going with experience is what you need in the short term, but creating a positive and inclusive culture your employees can thrive in will be better in the long run.

5. Goals
Having goals and knowing where they can grow as individuals and with the company is incredibly important to job seekers. The sample short term goal shows that employees who continue to learn about the products you sell can lead to more responsibilities on the sales floor beyond what they were hired to do. The long term goal gives candidates an idea of what else they can do for the company within their position.

6. Signature
Finally, make sure there is a section for both the candidate and the employer to sign and date the job description should the individual be offered the position and take it. This then becomes a reference document to look back on as the candidate becomes an employee and grows from there. It’s a set of expectations they acknowledged and can be held accountable for.

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