If you’ve found yourself unlucky enough to be on the hiring end of business in the past few months, you are well aware it’s been a challenge for many small business owners!
But what you may not know is that the biggest hiring mistake possible could be something you’re making without realizing it.
What do I mean?
One of my clients recently expressed frustration with the applicants for a position they had opened, so we began to take a closer look at the situation. As we started going through the applicants, something didn’t seem quite right so I asked her to see their job ad. I suddenly realized that they were making the exact same mistakes as so many other small business owners. They had posted the job description as their job ad, which was attracting detail-oriented individuals and not customer-service oriented individuals.
It’s an easy mistake - everyone is making it!
So what exactly is the problem? Assuming your job description is a great way to advertise the job.
The Job Ad and Job Description are not the same thing!
The Difference is…
Let me break down what each document is, so you can see the differences between a job ad and a job description.
A job description lists out what the person filling that position is going to do for you and the company. It’s a list of recurring activities, expected skill sets, and responsibilities. The purpose of a job description is to give you a written document to hold your team member accountable for their responsibilities, and give them a one-page summary of what they need to go back to every week to measure their failure or success. It’s, essentially, the unbiased measuring stick for their work.
A job ad’s purpose is to attract the kind of person you want to work in that position. It lays out what kind of company you are, so that the kinds of people you want to work with are attracted to your job ad. Job ads explain what kind of person will perform best in the role that the job ad is listing, and does it in a way that makes most sense to that kind of person. If you need a task manager, having a detail-oriented job ad is going to be great! If you need a customer service rep, having a personalized job ad is going to be great. But the job ad is not to tell them everything they’ll be doing, it’s to attract the right kind of person because the right kind of person is more important than the right list of skills.
“But Steph, shouldn’t I tell them what they’ll be doing?”
You can absolutely do that! It helps people to know what kind of job they’re applying for, but don’t build your whole job ad around the job they will be performing. That’s not the most important aspect of the job ad. My favorite way of adding in a description of the job is to list the primary and secondary responsibilities of the position so people get an idea of what they’re getting themselves into without having to read a whole job description.
It’s not set in stone…
Which is why it’s so easy to make the mistake of posting a job description as an ad. You could most definitely post the description and let people figure out if they’re gonna do well in that position. But it’s a far less effective use of your job ad than it is to try to attract the right kind of person.
Take It To Psychology
Different people are attracted to different communication styles.
Some people prefer lengthier sentences. Some people want bullet points. And all of those communication styles are wrapped up in the DISC Profile of communication styles. There are 4 basic communication styles:
- D - Dominance
- I - Influence
- S - Steadiness
- C - Compliance
Each communication style is suited to specific kinds of jobs. So the more effective and efficient you want your job ad to be, the more niche you need to be with it.
Back To The Example
C’s and S’s are detail oriented individuals.
So when we were analyzing the job ad, we realized it had been built in a way that was making most sense to C’s and S’s even though we were looking for I’s. Understanding the way people communicate, we redesigned the job ad to make most sense to I’s. We emphasized the fun and connection in the job, and kept it much shorter because that’s what would appeal to those individuals.
Once we restructured the job ad, we started getting the kinds of applicants we wanted.
How to Fix This Mistake
If you have your job description posted somewhere as an ad, take it down.
After that, determine what kind of person is going to work best in that position and build a job ad around the way that they communicate and that speaks to what matters most to the kind of person you want to attract. It’ll take you a little time up front, but it will save you hours on screening candidates on the back end.
About the Author:
Stephanie Scheller is a TED speaker, a two-time best-selling author and the founder of Grow Disrupt. In just under a decade, Stephanie has been behind the scenes with more than 5,000 small businesses. She has worked in groups and one-on-one to create total business transformation & help business owners live the life they got into business to create!