Fit the Description: How to Write Compelling Job Descriptions
There’s much more to writing a job description that will serve as the basis for a job ad than simply providing a laundry list of tasks and requirements. Your goal should be to capture the essence of the open position and sell the advantages of working at your firm. Basic components include the position’s job title and department, a summary of key responsibilities, and the preferred experience, skills and educational background you seek. Here are some more detailed tips on crafting strategically written, persuasive job descriptions:
Focus on clarity. Outline the general scope of the work in a clear, concise and orderly fashion. While certain higher-level accounting and finance positions will require more detail than others, verbose and convoluted job descriptions generally turn off job seekers. Write tight, prioritize responsibilities and avoid going into the minutia of every aspect of the job.
Don’t look back. Don’t focus on a job’s history when writing a description. Instead, indentify what the position will require now and in the near future. Assess your team’s current mix of strengths and weaknesses, and look for opportunities in the new position to fill skills and knowledge gaps.
Be flexible. Don’t paint yourself into a corner by writing a job description that is too rigid or lofty. Remember that what you prefer in an ideal candidate — such as an advanced academic degree — may not be what is required to effectively fulfill the role. This is particularly true when you factor in work experience and professional accomplishments.
Zero in on soft skills. Accounting and finance professionals have always needed strong technical skills to be successful. Today, however, soft skills also are critical. A job description emphasizing communication, negotiation and team-building abilities, for example, will help you establish clear expectations and attract the right candidates.