If I said that the hiring industry should be revamped, I doubt that I would receive much pushback. It’s evident that candidates feel their experience is frequently less than optimal, and hiring managers are left scratching their head wondering why their new hire hasn’t been the rock star they had imagined.

Surveys show that  28 percent of new hires may leave within the first 90 days and one reason is because the job wasn’t what they expected. New hires were not given clear expectations.

One way to combat this to set the correct expectations during recruitment. This starts with the position or job description.

The 80s Called and They Want Their Job Descriptions Back

Yes, job descriptions still have a place in organizations. They serve an important legal function. I’m not advocating ditching it, but you can make it more appealing.  If you are using the traditional job description to hire, you are not hiring for results.

Would anyone argue if I said that online job descriptions are boring? Do you think the top performers you seek are tempted to apply to something uninteresting? Candidates want opportunities because of the excitement and challenge of the work. If it sounds boring, they will skip over it.

Improper job descriptions are a major source of hiring mistakes. If you have not taken the time to understand what measured expectations you have in a position, then you are not ready to hire.

To grab someone’s attention and to get your best applicants, explain what success looks like in this position.

Let me explain. Traditional descriptions list duties, educational, and work history requirements. Yet, when performance reviews are conducted, you do not simply check off the duties performed. You generally see accomplishments that are attached to some sort of metric.

The goal is to minimize the gap between the job description and reality. You aren’t looking for someone who can tick off the daily duties: You are looking for results.

So, let’s put the traditional description to rest. It has seen better days. When you are hiring, think beyond the job description and make it a “Profile in Success.”

Developing Your Job Success Profile

A success profile is a tool used to facilitate the maximum fit between the new employee and job. Developing the profile – whether as a part of your description or as something that accompanies it –allows you to identify the competencies and motivations needed for successful job performance.

Before a new requisition is opened, do your homework. Clearly define, by way of metrics and attributes, what will define success in this role. Until you clearly understand what you expect, do not open a new requisition.

A job success profile will help you over these four failure points in the hiring process:

  • Not understanding or being able to articulate the mission, vision, strategy, and company culture to applicants.
  • Failing to align the position with the strategy of the company.
  • Not knowing what results (Key Performance Indications (KPIs), metrics, or timeframes) you expect in the role and not being able to articulate those to applicants.
  • Hiring managers not working in unison with the recruiter. A recruiter who doesn’t understand the underlying job requirements is not effective in bringing the right talent to the organization. Understanding the requirements of the job is essential for a recruiter if they are to source, recruit, evaluate, and close candidates.

How to Move from Position Descriptions to Job Success Profiles

Rid the description of the generic duties and nonsense buzzwords and replace it with what a person will need to specifically accomplish to be effective. Once you can succinctly articulate the expectations, you can begin the hiring process.

Your success profile should:

  • Define the mission of the job as it aligns to the business strategy.
  • Describe the major outcomes/accomplishments required to achieve success.
  • Capture the knowledge, skill, competencies, and personal attributes required.
  • Set the stage for the new hire’s first 30/60/90 days and beyond.
  • Be a living document that can be applied consistently through your talent management processes.

Tips for Creating Your Job Success Profile

Purge the Fluff and Use Specific Language:  

How many times have you seen the buzzwords “must communicate well,” “critical thinking,” “fast-paced environment,” or “must be team player” on job descriptions? Omit the vague language and state what you mean. If you are unable to explain what you mean by “critical thinking” or any other buzzword you use, it doesn’t have a place on the description. Don’t fill it with what you cannot measure, or what you are unable to explain.

Change Duties to Key Deliverables When Possible:

When you define what you consider to be superior performance for the role, you can change your duties into a deliverable:

  • Don’t say: Responsible for new business sales in the Western Division.
  • Instead Say: As our new Sales Manager, you will be expected to increase new business sales by 20% in the Western Division to include adding one new territory within 12 months.

Do you see the difference? With clearly defined expectations, your interview will be transformed from mundane questioning into powerful discussions. The applicant already knows what is expected of them and if you agree that past performance is an indicator of future success, this sets the stage for that discussion in the interview. Your interviews will be more meaningful when you are able to speak about success and expectations.

Know What Makes the Position Exciting:

Job descriptions usually carry a sentence or two about the company but that doesn’t tell a potential employee what they need to know. There are three questions your updated success profile should answer:

  • Why does this job matter to the organization?
  • Why should they work for you or the company?
  • How will they grow?

You’ll have greater success in attracting candidates and you’ll weed out under-performers if you use this approach.  If a candidate is happy in their current role, they may not be interested in leaving for what may appear a lateral move. When they see the specific expectations of the role or the type of organization you have, it will increase their likelihood to move if it seems appealing. Additionally, if the outcomes are too big for the candidate now, it will weed them out up front.

This process will help will clarify expectations, upgrade your candidate pool, refine the recruiting process, and lay the groundwork for your talent management programs – and you’ll have a happier employee when there are no surprises.

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Jan Johnston Osburn is a Certified Career Coach and Organizational Consultant. Her organizational specialties are Talent Acquisition, Training, and Leadership Development. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Buckingham, UK, and has certifications in Executive Coaching and Advanced Social Media. Her website is www.YourBestLifeTodayCoaching.Com .