How to Spice Up Your Dusty Old Job Descriptions

Posted by Kathi Guiney on October 4, 2017, Job Descriptions | No Comments

The bad news is, after 30 years with the company, your VP of Operations is retiring at the end of the year. So you’d better start looking for a replacement, and fast! But do you even know what you’re looking for? Your VP has been in the position since the Reagan era, and nobody remembers what the position looked like before that. It’s up to you to investigate: What is the position supposed to do? What does your current VP actually do? What type of candidate will fit best? …because you have to write the job description that will nab your next 30-year VP.

Step one: Find that old job description. Blow off the dust, and give it a look. After 30 years, it’s probably inaccurate—perhaps even totally obsolete—but it will give you an idea as to why your last VP was hired and became so successful. That’s your starting point to write the job description that will land your next VP.

Step two: Determine the goals of your job description. Goal one: To detail the skills and experience necessary to perform the position. This will help you write the job posting and interview questions that will find the best match. Goal two: To provide a basis for performance evaluations, goals, and potential career paths. Goal three: To protect the company in a discrimination or wrongful termination suit. If a task is plainly listed in the description, then yes, it is their job.

Step three: Write a new job description. An honest and clear job description is an asset to your company and to the candidates looking to join your team. So you’ll need to discover what the job actually does. Find out your current VP’s daily duties, and ask which tasks should stay with the position and which should be reassigned. Use that to build a list of tasks in order of their significance or the percent of time performing each. Remember to include, “Performs other duties as assigned.”

Step four: Write a job posting. You know the required duties, now you need to detail the experience and skills necessary to do them. This includes hard and soft skills, education, and years of experience. Just make sure every skill has a legitimate reason for being included; there is no reason to list “must be able to lift 50 pounds” unless the position regularly lifts heavy loads. Once the tough stuff is out of the way, you’ll want to include the job title, work location and schedule, and chance of travel and overtime. You may want to mention who this position reports to and how many employees it supervises. You may also want to include a brief statement of purpose, which summarizes the position’s main goals and objectives. If your company has a defined salary range, include it. A great job posting will minimize the barriers for your perfect candidate!

If you find you could use a hand with a job description, look to us at YES! Your Human Resources Solution, Orange County’s premier Human Resources consulting firm. We have more than 20 years of experience with everything HR, including writing stellar job descriptions for new positions and oldies-but-goodies. Give us a call when you’re ready for your free consultation!

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