For some people, heading out on a vacation without a plan, a map or a reservation anywhere is their idea of a fun time. They stop when they are tired, look for a pillow to lay their weary head at night and get up the next day, deciding over breakfast what direction to travel that day. Some vacations will be great, some will be dismal. But that's ok, because you knew the potential risks and were prepared to tackle anything. After all, that's what this vacation is all about. As an employer, can you afford to approach your next hiring decision in the same way? Can you work without a plan and without any idea of a probable outcome? Perhaps you are a manager that likes to hire from "gut feelings". In my experience, this works about the same as an unplanned vacation: with wildly varied results. Who can afford the risk?
Bring Clarity to the Role and Your Ideal Hire
When making a hiring decision, everything stems from the job description - proof that you have actually thought out the job and what you're looking for in terms of technical and personal fit. The job description itemizes the key activities of the position. Most of these will be critical to the success of the new hire. How can you measure success if you have never told anyone what you expect of them? A well thought out job description will include:
Mandatory Requirements - such as education and years of experience. This will prevent the most hopelessly unqualified candidates from responding to your job posting. At least, it gives you a chance to disqualify unacceptable candidates before investing your valuable time with phone calls or interviews.
Other Requirements - list all the soft skills you are looking for. As an example, do you want someone who can work from their home with very little human contact, or do you need someone who will blend nicely into a large team?
Title of the Position
Overall Description of the role
Job Duties Section - where you will make a list of all the repeated tasks of the job.
Qualifications Section - list the educational and years of work requirement, as well as all the soft skills that a candidate will need to be successful in the role. You also need to include other specific requirements, such as language, security clearance, ability to travel, etc..
Save Time in Your Hiring Process
Once you have a job description, the next step is to advertise and collect resumes. In my business as an executive search consultant, I often receive hundreds of resumes for each posting on the internet. With a detailed job description in hand, you can save hours of time by disqualifying candidates who don't meet the criteria. This would be like arriving at your five-star hotel with a reservation in hand, instead of settling for the flea-bag motel down the road.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCE To help you get started, please check out the Sample Job Descriptions on our Hiring Manager Resources page.