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Writing an effective IT job description

May 29, 2014

If you’re trying to attract top IT talent—and who isn’t?—you need to eliminate any unnecessary barriers in your recruiting process. After all, with a talent shortage, IT workers probably aren’t chasing you. The average IT professional gets more than 10 recruiter contacts per week, and they’re targeted by online IT job ads all day long. So you can’t let any part of your recruiting process present an obstacle, because they’ll just move on to their many other choices.

Writing an effective job description is a great place to start. Many people take a “kitchen sink” approach to writing job descriptions, throwing in every possible duty a person might perform, and failing to give proper weight to the critical elements of the job. This information overload actually makes it very difficult for job seekers to understand what a position is really about. It’s also dull for the candidate. So pare your job duties down, and provide interesting detail about why those duties matter to your business.

Laundry lists of job requirements also throw job seekers off, particularly female candidates, who typically won’t apply for a position unless they meet at least 80 percent of the listed requirements. A better approach is to determine the critical elements of the position and omit everything else. Think hard about including skills that are easy to learn—why bother listing something a smart person can learn their first week on the job?

Finally, don’t forget to show some personality. Many positions look essentially the same, but the workplace and culture can make a big difference in a person’s work experience. Stand out and attract candidates who have lots of options by highlighting your organization’s coolness factor. But be honest; if your vibe is more buttoned down than hip, let that show, too. You’ll find candidates who prefer that environment and fit in well with your company culture. Recruiting may be a courtship, but actually working with someone is more like marriage. And you don’t want to end up married to an incompatible partner.  

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