6 Job Description Mistakes Every Business Needs To Avoid

11 Sep 10:00 by Jamie Silman


When it comes time to find a replacement for an employee who is leaving or retiring, many businesses dig out the old job description, update a few of the duties and requirements, post it online and wait for the job applications to roll in.

Sound familiar?

While this approach may have worked a few years ago, we hear from more and more companies who are struggling to find suitable candidates for their roles when using this method.

Job descriptions are a candidate’s first interaction with a potential employer, but they are often overlooked by businesses who are unaware of the positive impact a well written job description can have on their search for the right employee.

So, if you find yourself receiving unsuitable CVs for your roles, or you’re getting no applications at all, it’s time to start looking at whether your job descriptions are up to scratch.

These are 8 job description mistakes every business needs to avoid:

A Confusing Job Title

While an exciting title might help make your job post stand out, most of the time it will leave candidates scratching their heads.

Calling an Office Administrator a “Workplace Management Ninja” might sound cool, but chances are your candidates aren’t going to be searching for that.

Optimise your job description by identifying the job title people will most likely use to search for a job to give yourself the best chance of active candidates finding your role.

Expecting Too Much from One Candidate

In recent years, it’s become more and more common to see a blurring of lines between job roles, with many workers bringing multiple skillsets to their roles.

However, a trend that is appearing too often is businesses expecting candidates to be a jack of all trades.

Sure, there may be an engineer out there who has CNC machining experience, knowledge of HTML to help maintain the company website, and who can handle customer service in Spanish; but you’re really narrowing down your candidate pool by expecting one person to handle that many tasks as part of their day-to-day role.

Consider whether the role you’re advertising might be broken down into multiple positions, and prioritise individuals with the most important skills rather than expecting applicants to tick all the boxes.

Too Many Buzzwords or Clichés

Using too many buzzwords or clichés could make your job description come across as desperate.

Everyone knows that terms like “Rockstar” or “self-starter,” and phrases like “able to hit the ground running” are just platitudes used in an attempt to sell the role.

These days people are more interested in how their role fits into the wider business strategy, and how their work will impact the future of the company.

By all means, get creative with your job description, but make sure you’re not stuffing it full of words and phrases that do nothing to describe the position or the company!

Not Including Salary Information

Put yourselves in a potential candidate’s shoes for a second.

Imagine tailoring your cv, writing a compelling cover letter and applying for a job, only to get a call from the recruiter where you find out that the pay is for significantly less than you’re currently on.

Everyone’s time is wasted because the salary wasn’t listed on the job description.

For some people, salary may not be as much of an issue, but for many people it is an important factor in their decision to take a job offer.

After all, everyone has bills to pay, and if they can’t afford the pay cut, they’re not going to accept the job offer.

Not Listing Benefits or Listing Legal Requirements as Perks

We’ve seen plenty of companies make the mistake of leaving some of their best perks off of their job description.

Whether it’s a great matched pension scheme, or the opportunity for the position to work flexibly, it’s important to determine what your best perks are so you can really sell them to potential employees.

After all, you’re competing with other companies for the top candidates, so make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.

With that being said, in the UK the legal requirement for most full-time workers is 28 days paid annual leave per year, so listing the fact that you offer 28 days paid leave per year in the benefits section of your job description does nothing more than show potential employees that you provide the legally required amount of leave.

Is that really a perk?

If you’re recruiting in a competitive sector, make sure you’re offering perks that do compete with the other leaders in your industry, and make sure you’re really selling the perks you do have on offer.

Not Selling the Position or the Company

Unless you’re recruiting for a highly-specialised, technical role, you’ll probably be competing with other companies when searching for new employees.

If you’re not actively selling the position, or the company, in your ad, then it’s likely candidates will look at, and apply for, other positions.

If a candidate is already employed, your job is to persuade them that applying for this position will be the best choice for their career; otherwise they can simply stay in their current position.

It can seem trivial to spend time editing the job description for a role, particularly when that position needs to be filled urgently, but anything that helps your position stand out in a crowded space such as the online job boards is sure to have a positive impact.

If you’re struggling to recruit for a technical position, speak to a member of our team today to find out if we can help you fill your open roles.