Job Descriptions: Devil Is In the Detail

Posted by Kathleen Smith

Job Descriptions Devil is in the detailsThe idiom “the devil is in the detail” refers to a catch or mysterious element hidden in the details.

Recruiting has many components, but the one component that every recruiter deals with is the job description. Recently, I came across several job descriptions for a company in our community. At the top of the description was the security clearance requirement: Full Screen Poly, which of course should have been Full Scope Poly. In looking at another company’s job descriptions from a very large and popular company (Fortune 50 Company), each one of their security cleared job descriptions quoted a Security Clearance Reciprocity regulation from 2007.

Recruiters from both companies wondered why they weren’t getting any applications to their positions.

While the errors may seem slight in both of these instances, they speak volumes to the credibility of the organizations. In a niche market like the security cleared community, not understanding these nuances undermines the company’s and recruiter’s reputation. Both organizations are well respected and proficient in the cleared facilities industry, but missing these details significantly hampers their ability to recruit top talent.

According to the most recent Career Xroads study, referrals and job boards are #1 and #2 for sources of hire nationwide, but both of these sets of recruiting tools still require a job description. No matter how your candidate comes in contact with your organization, at some point during the process they will read your job description. So why do so few companies take the time to make their job descriptions accurate or even enticing to the job seeker?

Job descriptions are usually:

  1. Pulled from the government contract award,
  2. Freshened up from the last time the job was posted, or
  3. Relegated to being written by someone who doesn’t know anything about the job.

Why? This one “detail” is a critical linchpin to talent acquisition but it is treated with such scorn.

If you are excited about having people coming to join your team, entice them with a job description that makes them excited about the prospect.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 10:02 am

One thought on “Job Descriptions: Devil Is In the Detail”

  1. And for heaven’s sake, when the *job ad* template says “description”, put the JOB DESCRIPTION there, not your company’s description. That goes under “Company description” or something like that.

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