Writing Future-Focused Job Descriptions

01/17/11 05:23:00 pm, by Kris Kelso
Categories: Building & Managing Teams

Most job descriptions I have seen focus on two areas:  the responsibilities of the position (the present), and the experience or credentials required (the past).  But the best candidates are not looking to repeat past accomplishments – they are looking for new challenges and opportunities to grow and advance (the future).  If you want to attract the best and brightest talent, you need to focus on what the candidate can expect in the future should they accept the position, not just what is involved on day 1.

Include things like:

  • Career Advancement. Does your company have a career path for this role?  If so, what is the next logical step from this position?  How long is it expected to take until a promotional opportunity is available?  What does your company do to foster growth of its employees?  Note: it can be especially attractive to point out that this position was vacated by an employee who was promoted to a higher-level role within the company.
  • Educational Opportunities. What skills will this employee have the opportunity (and be expected) to learn in the coming months and years?  What new technologies or systems are on the horizon that might be attractive to your candidate as a learning opportunity?  What type of educational support does your company provide, and how are employees rewarded for taking initiative in educational development?
  • New Challenges Expected. What problems are you and your business trying to solve over the next few years, and how will this position contribute to those solutions?  What differentiates your company from others in the area of challenge, as opposed to just simple benefits?

Most organizations desire employees who are engaged, not just looking for a paycheck.  But that requires that your job opportunities and descriptions reflect the opportunities for engagement.  Ask yourself “If I were a really smart and talented person, what would I be looking for in a job offer?”  You might find that it’s about much more than just the salary and benefits – it’s about the opportunity.

Focusing on the future will change the way you write job positions, and increase the quality of the candidates who apply.

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