Recruiter as Trusted Advisor: How to Transform Fluffy Job Descriptions into Compelling Job Postings

Step One: Analyze the job description: What are the missing specifics? 

Review the JD to identify additional information and/or clarifications that you need from the hiring manager. Out of this discussion will come the elements to include in your posting. It will be very different and much more effective than the original JD.

These examples are from the Requirements section of a recent job description from a company where I am coaching the recruiting team on these topics. 

When you see phrases like “Manage a team to…”, etc., I’ve listed some of the questions you may want to ask. 

From the Responsibilities section of the JD:

–       Manage a team to …

  • How big is the team?
  • What titles do the team members have?
  • Is the team located remotely?
  • Will this person have to grow the team, train the team?
  • Since this position manages a team, what management experience do you want someone to have—# years managing a team, # of people managed, etc.

–       Implement projects …

  • An example of what a “project” might be
  • How many of them total in a year (or month)
  • How long would a typical project last?
  • Is there a team that works on the “implementation”
  • Does this person lead that team?

–       Monitor key metrics…

  • What are those metrics
  • What makes them “key”
  • Are there processes and/or system in place to gather the metrics or does this person create those
  • Who are these key metrics reported to
  • Is there anything else this person should do as a result of monitoring the metrics


You get the point. Notice that you will also get some specifics about the required background. Many job descriptions are pretty vague in that area as well. 

There may be so much “fluffy” high level language in the job description that you simply cannot get everything defined to the level above. But don’t cut short your time with the hiring manager on these questions. When you ask good substantive questions, they will see the value of spending the time. You may be surprised at their reaction as the two of you talk about the position this way.


Next post: How to get the hiring manager to meet with you for this discussion.

Views: 826

Comment by Amber on August 23, 2012 at 11:44am

Thanks, Katherine! Your last sentence regarding the next post is the key to all this, and sometimes the hardest part to get done. I have only recently started turning down searches if a client won't provide this kind of info. Too hard to make a placement if not able to get these details.

Comment by katherine moody on August 23, 2012 at 12:14pm

You're exactly right, Amber. Without the meeting all the preparation doesn't go far.  I think it's great that you don't take a search without these details. My next post will have some strategies for getting "reluctant" hiring managers to meet with you for this critical converstion. And then they will be the ones to keep coming back for your service.

Comment by Will Branning on August 23, 2012 at 5:26pm

Thanks Katherine - good reminders and a few good new ideas for me to try. Digging deeper into words and phrases really does make a difference and helps sort out the wheat from the chaff...

Looking forward to your nest post!


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