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Job Description: The Future is Output-Based

The first step in recruitment is creating a job description. Yet while evolution has effected other aspects of recruitment, it has past right by job descriptions. We have had the same outdated format and content for decades, and it is massively understated the negative effect this has on candidates and employers alike. From ridiculous experience requirements to asking for redundant skills, businesses have gone unchallenged on this topic for long enough. The future is now and the future is output-based.

The “Ideal” Candidate does not Exist

Businesses need to manage their expectations when it comes to recruitment. All too often job descriptions contain a phrase that is counter productive to say the least. Many job descriptions contain the phrase “the ideal candidate will have:”. If you are a recruiter writing a job description, let me stop you right there, because this phrase tends to be followed by a long list of unrealistic expectations and you are setting up everyone involved (yourselves included) to fail. The majority of candidates will not apply based off of the fact they do not meet every single one of these needs. A small minority will lie and apply anyway just to take their chances.

The chances of you finding someone who ticks everyone of those 30 boxes are slim to none. The literal definition of the word “ideal” is satisfying one’s conception of what is perfect, existing only in their imagination and unlikely to become a reality. No human has achieved perfection since the beginning of our existence so how can it be expected from your applicants? The bottom line is your not going to get what your asking for and realistically a job description should not be about the candidate in the first place.

The Practice of Inclusivity Creates Exclusivity

Since society is making a genuine effort to be more diverse and inclusive across the board, business are trying to do the same with their workforce. When recruiting, employers now factor in; gender, BAME, LGBTQ+ and Neurodiversity as a plus. Within job descriptions, employers will even say they are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive working environment. However by actively including certain groups you are excluding others, there is something of a paradox there; you cannot be inclusive without being exclusive. This is called positive discrimination, which is a contradiction in terms in and of itself. It can be argued that by definition; discrimination in any form cannot be positive.

The whole point of diversity and inclusion is to create equality. If you are favouring someone because on their gender, sexuality or race then that is just a different brand of exclusivity. So a white, heterosexual male is automatically at a disadvantage regardless if they are just as capable of doing the job as other applicants who fall under the above categories? Is this not just more of the same issue in a different form? If every organisation does this then inclusivity is just an illusion that we are kidding ourselves with. The only way to be truly inclusive is to take inclusivity completely out of the equation and out of the job description.

Generic Job Descriptions don’t lead to Quality Candidates

Many business don’t put enough time and effort into the job descriptions. The format is so out-dated that businesses to tend to throw generic essential requirements in without thinking, or they overload it with paragraph after paragraph of information about the company. Yet they include very little about the roll itself. This is not appropriate, a full summary of the company comes later in the recruitment process not the beginning. And if the candidate really wants the job they will do their research on the company beforehand. A job description is a job description, not a company description and not a candidate description.

Another issue is the throwaway skills recruiters have in their job descriptions. What is a generic skill to an employer can be a deal breaker for an applicant. This issue particularly affects neurodiverse people. Neurodiverse people are some of the most talented people on the planet and yet so few are in employment today. They perceive things differently, so if they see a skill in a job description they do not have, they will take it no further. Though this does not just include neurodiverse people, many applicants move on when they see an essential skill that they do not have. Yet the role itself does not require the skills the job description asks for. A job where the person predominantly works alone does not require great interpersonal skills. But the at the end of the day, none of these should be included in a job description.

The Output-Based Job Description

So what is an output-based job description? Simple; you take the candidate: their skills, qualifications and experiences out of it. You also take the company out of it; no mission statements, passions, goals etc. A short two to three line introduction on what the company does is the most that should be in a job description. The rest of it is solely about the role itself and the output of the person within said role and what their day to day duties will be. It should be based off of what an existing or past employee within that role does. Or with a new role, the purpose of it and why it was created should be made abundantly clear. There should be no abbreviations of what skills these duties will require, if the description of said duties is clear and precise the candidate will know if they are cable or not.

Take all labels out of the equation no; ‘diversity & inclusion’ or ‘flexible working’. These labels, regardless of intent, are creating an unconscious bias that contradicts their meaning. The most inclusive way to form a job description is to not include any labels whatsoever, this is the mark of true inclusion. This will ensure that the right candidates apply for the role as opposed to candidates trying to be perfect for the role. This is the future of the job description. If we as a society hope to abolish all forms of discrimination and promote true equality within the workplace. It will give everyone the same chance, no one individual will have an advantage over another. This will of course have a domino effect on the entire recruitment process, but a positive one none the less. But one step at a time and its time to take that first step.

#OUTPUTChallenge

We at Find Your Flex challenge you and your business to take part in our #OUTPUTChallenge type form: https://findyourflex.typeform.com/to/I523nXuA. Be the pioneer businesses in creating a better Future of Work for candidates and businesses alike! Businesses will create their 3 best Output Job Descriptions and the winner will receive 100 business credits with us for a whole year and will also be the core focus of our press release on the ‘Future of Work’. The future is now, cement your part in it by taking the challenge!

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Business

How To Write A Good Job Description

We don’t need to tell you how important first impressions are, and a job description is the first introduction potential hires will get into your company. So, never underestimate its importance. 

A good job description should be straightforward, clear and easy to follow. It’s essentially the first stage of the recruitment process, so it plays a very important role in gathering a group of potential candidates. Take the time to get it right.

Here’s Some Of Our Top Tips To Write The Perfect Job Description:

The Job Title 

Make sure the job title is an accurate description of what the job entails. Think of it as an attention-grabbing headline. It’s what will draw the candidate in, so it’s arguably the most prominent point. Avoid obscure titles; job descriptions are not the place for creative writing, doing so you risk alienating people, meaning you could lose out on the perfect candidate. Think about the job titles people will search for.

Explain The Position

Paint a picture of your company, the team and the types of projects they’ll be working on.  It’s important to get the balance right here; you don’t want to waffle but you do want to provide enough information, so that the potential hire can engage with it. Too little info and your description could be overlooked. Too much and the candidate will lose interest or overlook important points.

The Working Environment

Be sure to talk about the working environment, so that potential hires can visualise themselves within it, whether that’s quirky offices based in Camden, an industrial centre, a call centre or a home-based role. Will it be quiet or noisy and full of buzz? Will the employee need to operate any equipment as part of the role or do any heavy lifting? Is travel required? These details let the candidate know what to expect and whether the job is a good match for them. 

Location & Flexibility 

Being clear about the location of the role is really important. It sounds obvious, but lack of clarity could eliminate the perfect hire.  State the geographical location of the role, but if you would consider flexibility and remote-working, spell this out. Thanks to technology and the way the world works these days, location doesn’t need to be a barrier to finding your perfect hire. 

Similarly, state if you’re open to flexible working patterns and discussions, so that it doesn’t become a sticking point for candidates at interview stage. But, be sure you are equipped to follow through with these promises of adopting flexible working practices.

Focus On Skills In The Job Description

Spell out the top three to four skills you expect your candidates to have. These are the key ingredients to the role and the bare minimum that’s required.  Missing one of these is like missing a key ingredient from a recipe.

Qualifications And Education

Don’t underestimate the importance of qualifications and education; it needs careful consideration. It’s clearly important to have the “must haves” in your description but be careful not to include something that would be an advantage, unless of course you highlight it as that. If you’d happily consider someone who has years or practical experience, spell this out in your description. 

Day-To-Day Duties

Candidates will want to know what their work life would look like on a daily basis, so explain the day-to-day duties of the job. Make sure this important point is included in the job description.

Success 

Tell your potential candidates what’s expected of them and what success looks like in your company. What standards will they be expected to meet if you bring them on board. 

Salary In The Job Description

Include the compensation package in the job description, even if it’s a range or salary band. “Salary dependant on experience” won’t generate the same amount of interest.  From a candidate’s point of view, no mention of salary, implies that the employer either doesn’t know or doesn’t value the outputs the role produces.  Why would they waste their time applying for a role that could possibly pay way under what they feel they should earn? Consequently qualified candidates who are potentially the right fit for the role could dismiss the role. 

Other Points To Keep In Mind When Writing A Job Description

Keep language friendly and gender-neutral, write in the first person e.g. “You will be proficient in…”, proof-read and spell check. 

When you write a job description read it out loud and ensure it makes sense. If there’s any point that doesn’t flow properly or is tricky to understand it, change it. If you don’t understand it, no-one else will.  Test the description; ask people in your business or organisation to read it before it goes live. Chances are that someone else, who is not as close to it as you are, will spot something you won’t!

Avoid long paragraphs and lengthy descriptions, candidates will lose interest. Keep the job description clear, concise and spell out the main points.

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