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The Real Job Requirements Are Under ‘Preferred Qualifications’ & Other Job Description Fails

Danielle McClow
January 13 ․ 7 min read

We've all seen them, and we've all even joked about them. I'm talking about the job descriptions that make no sense. (e.g., social media job ads with requests for 20+ years experience – I guess you want to hire Tom from Myspace?) 

Job postings are supposed to showcase your open role so that qualified, interested people apply to them. Then you get to review the information and set up the next steps. Simple enough.

Job Description Fails

More often than not, we see horrendous job descriptions that aren't clear on the role's responsibilities or expectations. As a quick reminder, job descriptions are not/should not: 

  • Be a conglomerate of the past three people who quit roles summed up into one mega position (minus the salary to match). 
  • List actual job requirements under 'preferred qualifications' (or bullet out 35 responsibilities). 
  • Contain vague language or red flags (e.g., "fast-paced environment" = toxic to today's job seekers). 
  • Outline an entry-level role to have 5+ years experience (or additional degrees or experiences). 

Bottom line: you're wasting your time and increasing the cost and time to fill with misleading content in your job description. And since there are too many jobs and not enough people in 2022, there's no room for error anymore. 

The Next Step in Recruitment Marketing: Accurate, Inclusive Job Descriptions 

So if you're looking to hire people this year, in the wake of the great resignation and great reshuffle, then you must revamp your job descriptions. 

Top Five Job Description Tips for 2022 

  • Trim the fat. It's time to cut out the bulk of your job ads by removing the non-role-related qualifications. Sometimes a hiring manager isn't sure what exactly they need or want. It's up to our TA and HR professionals to wade through the role and outline the expectations.  
  • Curtail your expectations. Unfortunately, we're not playing pretend or living in a world where you can tackle all your goals and clean up all the mess with one role. All positions have to have boundaries. It's better to hire a person to do a specific set of tasks than to be a jack of all trades and master of none. (Even if they are good at everything, how can they possibly have time to do it all? You're looking at quick burnout when you put too much in one role). 
  • Post salary ranges. In places like NYC, California, and Colorado, salary ranges are mandatory by law. And while this can be scary (especially if you know you're currently underpaying employees), it's a fair hiring practice that will eventually catch on to other places. It's also a great way of weeding through people who will go through the hiring process only to find out you're not paying the salary they expect. 
  • Detect conscious and subconscious bias. When you have the proper, refined role requirements and an accurate salary range, you might think you're done. But you're not. Because lurking behind the shadows is bias. Conscious bias is often easier to spot but subconscious bias is near to impossible to find because your recruiters didn't know it's "wrong." So what can you do? Check out recruitment tools like a DEI Plugin to detect gender, racial, and age bias in text content.

  • Leverage data to target job ads to the right people. Data can be your saving grace in helping to find the right person for the job in a very tight labor market. Data that allows you to identify the types of people you need to hire and where to find them will continue to trend over the next few years. 

We do need to get to a place, whereas an industry, we've got the right data, so that we can feel empowered to go to our hiring managers and say, let's revisit both the expectations of what we're asking for and the demographic of what we're going after, and how do we reach our benchmarks to perform against it.”

Gerry Crispin - Gerry Crispin, Principal & CoFounder, CareerXroads 

(Check out the full podcast episode with Gerry and Debbie here to learn more about today's recruitment marketing tactics and data.) 

Want to learn more? 

If you want to dig into your job descriptions and see what other improvements you can make, check out "Top Job Description Tips for 2022."