What to Include in Job Description BEFORE the Job Description

by Jobbatical September 07, 2016

Show candidates what’s behind the curtain

Authors sometimes do it: write a “prequel” after they’ve published a novel, so people who enjoyed the story can read what happened to the characters before the narrative began. It expands engagement and helps readers connect more deeply with the players, whom they may relate to as actual people — especially if the book is part of a series, such as the phenomenally popular Harry Potter franchise, or Star Trek, which began as a television show and spawned books, several additional TV series, and a seemingly endless array of films.

If prequels are important in fiction, they’re exponentially more vital in the work world, when you’re sourcing candidates you hope will remain with your company long term.

Like a “promise ring” for business

To expand engagement at the outset, draw your talent in by describing the job before you describe the job. In essence, you’re offering them a peek behind the curtain, a view of your business life before they’re offered entry. Though this might seem a trifle indulgent, it’s an excellent way to build a relationship from the very beginning — somewhat like a “promise ring,” a pre-engagement ring that symbolizes commitment to a monogamous relationship.

Before a potential hire joins your team, give them an insider’s view of your company and the team they’d be part of, which will be their “home away from home” if they’re the right fit for the job.

Seeing the CEO as a real person

In your “prequel” job description, be sure to include these 5 elements:

  • Pictures of your office: This is where your new hire will “live” for a minimum of eight hours a day. It’s only fair to let them see the space before they agree to move in.
  • Descriptions of team culture and colleagues. Happy, long-term employees will often jump ship if company culture changes, so it’s best to share what the culture is like at the outset. Your candidate will know what to expect, and you’ll be equipped to address potential culture shifts down the road.
  • Spare time activities: It’s difficult to separate work and personal life these days. One tends to flow into the other, especially for tech talent. Describe the types of hobbies and off-hours activities your staff enjoys, so your prospective hire can judge whether this aligns with their interests.
  • Your personal bio: Everybody wants to get a sense of their new boss, but most people don’t really get to know the person they’ll be working with/for until they’re on board. Turn convention on its ear by describing yourself first, before you describe the person you are seeking to hire. This goodwill gesture says a lot about you, the transparency of company culture, and your desire to connect with your people, which is the first retention prerequisite.
  • The truth: Most crucially, commit to being honest about who you are, what the position entails, and where the company is headed. If you begin with the truth, your candidate will know you’ll be honest about changes as the business grows and evolves. Every job seeker appreciates this.

By sharing the backstory to the job description, you’re more likely to attract candidates who really want to work with your team, in your office, for the long haul, rather than those who were attracted to the opening for the wrong reasons and quit after a week.

Originally published at jobbatical.com on September 7, 2016.

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