3 Job Description Resolutions You’ll Thank Yourself For Making

Are your job descriptions optimized with the most up-to-date best practices? If not, there’s no better time for a fresh start like the New Year’s. Ring in 2015 with a look at these three job description resolutions that put best practices and Simply Hired data to work for you.

How Does Your Update Activity Compare?

When was the last time your portfolio of job descriptions was updated? If it wasn’t in the past year, you’re in good company. Many companies create job descriptions, file them away and prioritize other, more urgent tasks. But did you ever consider how much that might impact your productivity and efficiency over the course of several years?

Creating and updating job descriptions might seem like a low priority, but in reality it can affect recruitment, training, performance evaluations, compensation and even the quality of the candidates you attract. Job descriptions and identifying “essential functions” can also offer important legal clarification for hiring, firing and functioning within an organization.

Make A Change for 2015

Depending on the size of your company and the number of job descriptions you maintain, commit a reasonable amount of time to review and update your portfolio of job descriptions. It may be hard to find an hour each week to do so, but the long-term productivity ROI will be worth it.

If your company is simply too large for one person to take on this project, consider crowd-sourcing job description updates from your managers and their teams. Ask each manager to review the job descriptions for their areas, make changes and get feedback from key employees.

When it comes to prioritizing which job descriptions to update, think about the major stressors, hiring difficulties and poor performing employees you’ve encountered in the past year. Use that insight to inform which batch to update first.

What’s The Right Length?

The average length of a job description across the best performing companies on Simply Hired in 2014 was 381 words, with an average job title of 4 words. This might surprise you, considering that many experts’ own best practices place the ideal job description length at one to three pages. Using a short “snapshot” version of a job is an increasingly popular way of attracting candidates online. It allows you to summarize the position and the required qualifications for a busy candidate searching through hundreds of listings. It also appeals to the increasing number of candidates who read and apply to jobs via mobile and tablet devices.

We don’t recommend dropping your long version entirely. Working from a short job description for the duration of the hiring process puts managers in the position of making hiring decisions based on a picture of the job that is too broad, rather than one that is detailed. Use your snapshot description to entice candidates to apply. Provide your traditional one to three page job analysis version to your talent acquisition team to use during the actual interviewing process.

Make A Change for 2015

Edit your full-length job descriptions into snapshot versions with strategic formatting and realistic subtractions. For example, use bullet points instead of paragraphs wherever appropriate. Identify and remove dated “requirements” that don’t really need to be there. And when it comes to expertise and technology requirements, bundle skills into one statement rather than listing experience in several software packages or programming languages.

Popular Jobs and Job Titles

Over the course of 2014 Simply Hired’s top posted occupations included Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers, Registered Nurses, Retail Salespersons, Software Application Developers and Sales Representatives. These are closely followed by Customer Service Representatives, First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers, Physicians and Surgeons, Sales Managers and Business Intelligence Analysts.

The top posted occupational categories (onet families) included Healthcare Practitioners; Computer and Mathematical; Transportation and Material Moving; Sales; and Office and Administrative Support. Other top clicked onet family codes included Management; Business and Financial Operations; Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports and Media; Healthcare Support and Personal Care and Service.

Make A Change for 2015

If you are hiring in any of these fields, make sure to use the appropriate keywords in your job titles and descriptions. This will create the most searchable job listing possible when candidates search for jobs.

These ten keywords represent the top clicked keywords in 2014 and indicate that job-seekers are interested in these kinds of positions.

  1. Customer Service Representatives
  2. Registered Nurses
  3. Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants
  4. Sales Representatives
  5. Retail Salespersons
  6. Software Developers
  7. Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers
  8. Graphic Designers
  9. Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks
  10. Chief Executives

The most viewed job titles include the following:

  1. Administrative Assistant
  2. Customer Service Representative
  3. Sales Representative
  4. Project Manager
  5. Receptionist

Aligning your job descriptions and titles with the keywords most searched, viewed, and clicked on by job seekers will help access a larger pool of candidates.

Don’t embrace a new year with old job descriptions. Achieve new levels of productivity and efficiency by tweaking your job descriptions and job titles with these performance-enhancing statistics.

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