The hiring process is an essential aspect of any organization, but it is often broken, leading to lost time, money, and talent. One of the most significant issues in the hiring process is the lack of clear job descriptions. We will explore why a lack of clear job descriptions is a significant problem in the hiring process and what can be done to address this issue.

A job description that is unclear can lead to confusion regarding the expectations of the position. Candidates may apply for a job without knowing the essential skills and qualifications needed to succeed in the role. This can lead to a mismatch between the candidate’s skills and the job requirements, resulting in lost time and resources for the organization. This can lead to negative outcomes.

One of the primary consequences is attracting the wrong candidate leading to job seekers applying for positions that they are not qualified for or do not align with their interests or career goals. This situation results in a waste of time and resources for both the candidate and the company.

Moreover, inconsistencies or confusing descriptions can lead to the rejection of qualified candidates. A lack of clear expectations regarding job responsibilities, qualifications, and required skills can result in confusion for candidates, leading them to misrepresent themselves. This can lead to companies rejecting qualified candidates and missing out on top talent.

One of the most common reasons is a lack of communication between the hiring manager and the HR department. The hiring manager may have a vague idea of the skills and qualifications required for the position, but they do not communicate this effectively to the HR department, leading to a poorly written description of responsibilities and duties performed. We also find it common that companies use outdated job descriptions from previous years without updating them to align with the current business needs, leading to confusion for job seekers. Research suggests the overall hiring process can also be affected negatively in three key areas.

Limiting Candidate Pool:

If the job requirements are not clear, many qualified candidates may not apply because they are unsure if they meet the qualifications or have the skills necessary to perform the job. This can result in a smaller talent pool, reducing the chances of finding the best candidate for the job.

Extending the length of the Hiring Process:

Hiring managers may spend time reviewing resumes of unqualified candidates, or they may have to spend additional time interviewing candidates who do not have the necessary skills for the job. This can lead to a prolonged hiring process, which can result in lost time, resources, and productivity.

Creating a Negative Employer Brand:

Candidates who have poor experiences during the hiring process may share their negative experiences with others, resulting in a damaged employer reputation. This can make it more challenging to attract top talent in the future.

Now that companies see potential long-term effects of poor job descriptions and how it can affect the overall business, some companies are implementing strategies to become more effective.

One of the most effective strategies is to involve multiple stakeholders in the job description creation process. This includes the hiring manager, HR department, and current employees in similar roles. This approach ensures that the job description reflects the reality of the role and the skills required to perform the job successfully.

  1. Companies can use technology to improve how descriptions are crafted. This includes using natural language processing (NLP) algorithms to analyze the content and ensure that they are clear, concise, and free of biased language. Companies are also using machine learning algorithms to analyze the job descriptions of successful hires to identify the most critical skills and qualifications required for the role.
  2. Define the Job Requirements: Employers should define the job requirements, including essential skills, education, and experience needed to perform the job. This will help ensure that candidates understand the expectations of the position and that they have the necessary qualifications.
  3. Employers should use clear and concise language in job descriptions. This will help ensure that candidates understand the job requirements and the qualifications needed for the position. Avoid using jargon or industry-specific terms that may confuse candidates.
  4. Companies can expand their job descriptions to include a wider range of skills and experiences. This strategy can help attract a more diverse pool of candidates who may not have traditional qualifications.
  5. Companies can use blind hiring techniques where personal identifying information such as name, gender, and ethnicity are removed from resumes and job applications. This strategy can help reduce bias and promote diversity.
  6. Companies can use skills-based assessments to evaluate candidates’ skills and potential rather than relying solely on their qualifications or experience. This strategy can help identify candidates who may have the potential to learn and grow in the role.
  7. Companies can build partnerships with organizations that focus on promoting diversity and inclusion in hiring. This strategy can help attract a more diverse pool of candidates and increase the company’s visibility in underrepresented communities.
  8. Employers should test the job description before posting it. This can be done by sharing the job description with current employees or industry experts to get their feedback. This will help ensure that the job description accurately reflects the expectations of the position and is attractive to potential candidates.
  9. Employers should provide additional information about the company and the position in the job description. This can include information about the company culture, benefits, and career growth opportunities. This will help attract a larger pool of candidates and improve employer branding.

Airbnb is an online marketplace that connects travelers with local hosts. The company has a robust hiring process that includes the creation of clear job descriptions for each role. Airbnb’s HR department uses a four-step process to create job descriptions to include identifying the role’s primary responsibilities, defining the required qualifications, creating a detailed list of responsibilities, and finally, reviewing and refining the job description.

The company also uses technology to improve its job descriptions. Airbnb uses Textio, an AI-powered platform that analyzes job descriptions and provides real-time feedback to ensure that the language is clear, free of bias, and easy to understand.

A lack of clear job descriptions can become a significant problem in the hiring process when all internal or external partiers are not fully in alignment. It can lead to confusion, a limited candidate pool, a prolonged hiring process, and negative employer branding. By defining job requirements, using clear language, testing the job description, and providing additional information, employers can improve the hiring process, attract top talent, and ultimately drive success for their organization.

For more information on how you might streamline your hiring process please email [email protected].

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