Andrea’s Afternoon Delight: Six Ways to Fuse Flair into a Job Description

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Delighted mostly during Ajax, the blizzard that was a flake (thanks to Julie Wienen for that joke).

Let me just start with a love note:

"Dear job descriptions. 
You could be so much more. 
Love, 
Potential hires."

Are you puzzled by the people who apply for your job posting? Positively confused by the lack of cohesion between what you asked for and what you got? Disappointed with lack of quality resumes you're receiving?

 Let's consider the job description.

Did you spend less than 20 minutes writing it? Did you download a template? Wait, did you write the entire thing yourself? No editor or writer involved?

Ruh-roh.

I get it. You're busy. And the reason you’re busy is that you’re probably doing this person’s job—the one you have to hire.

 And you may not be a writer.

 Or have a writer on staff.

 Here’s how to make that JD shine. Like the top of the Chrysler building. 

  • Have a conversation. Ask questions. Engage. Entertain just a tad. Dare to be different. Believe me, job descriptions are often so boring, it won’t take much.
  • Get beyond general buzz words. The first one to say “dynamic” loses. Get creative. That means “team-player” becomes “plays well with others”. “Life-work balance” becomes a conversation, a la: “Passionate product manager, dedicated parent and hardcore cyclist? We let you do it all.” The key is to be specific and self-aware.
  • Boss bio: Sorely missing from so many JDs. Tell them something personal, but mostly professional about who they’ll report to. Do they like Kung Fu? Are they a self-proclaimed software nerd? More Miranda Bailey or Bill Lumbergh? Connect. People don’t want to work for companies. They want to work for humans.
  • Stop bragging. It’s bad enough that it takes me 12 seconds to find the job openings on you careers page because you can’t shut up about yourself. On the JD, begin with the reader. Include two "self" sections, max. One near the top (not at the top), one at the bottom. Limit the awards list.
  • Consider culture. Culture is not  defined by benefits like beer meisters and unlimited vacation policy and hawaiian shirt Fridays. It's also not enough to say you value honesty, agility, teamwork, integrity and passion. Culture is deeper. Consider how your company operates when it comes to feedback, meetings, hierarchy, schedules, learning and communication. To learn more, employ Team & Culture or RoundPegg.
  • Day-in-the-life. A great thing to throw in at the end. If I’m going to be an analyst at Initech, what’s my daily routine after my morning Tetris? Because I wanna know.

Examples can be helpful. I recently wrote a few JDs for Inflow, a crazy-awesome e-commerce inbound marketing agency in Denver.

There. Doesn't it feel good to be a gangster? A job description gangster, that is. 

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