7 job description considerations
You can learn a lot about a company from the descriptions of their roles. It’s important to understand the steps involved in creating a job description, especially in large companies, to give you the best chance of choosing the roles that are right for you, as early as possible.
A job description paints a thousand question marks.
The application process provides an opportunity for an employer to evaluate a potential employee, scanning for red flags, but the reverse of this is also very true. As a job-seeker, it’s important to understand the steps involved in creating a job description, especially in large companies, to give you the best chance of choosing the roles that are right for you, as early as possible. Next time a job description catches your eye, keep in mind these seven considerations.
1. How specific is the job description?
The specificity of a job description is often related to the size of an organisation. Larger, more established organisations are likely to have hired for this role previously, so will have a standardardised approach. A smaller business will probably be doing this for the first time, so will provide a more personalised description of the role, and the wider business. In either case, you should see as an absolute minimum:
- Who the role reports into
- Why the role is open
- Is it a newly created role
- Any targets or management responsibilities
Stay clear of overly open-ended language and buzzwords. A solid description will focus on key responsibilities, expectations and deliverables. If these are not clear in the job description, but you are still keen to apply, be sure to ask the hiring manager during the interview process.
2. How wide is the salary banding?
It is not uncommon to see salary information left out of a job description. However, a lack of clear salary details gives employers greater opportunity to negotiate the salary in their favour. The same can be said for an extremely wide salary range. A wide salary range can be immediately appealing, as you are drawn to the highest potential earning rate.
3. Is any information about the company's mission or values provided?
Be wary of companies that have little or no clear information about what they stand for. Values help form a company’s identity and can speak volumes about how the company operates behind closed doors. The stronger the messaging about values, the easier it is for you to figure out if you truly align with the company and if you will be a good cultural fit.
4. How often are the words “hard working” or “fast paced” used?
It’s natural for a company to expect their employees to work hard, but an overuse of this style of language in a job description can suggest an overly demanding role. High-pressure work environments may suit some employees, however if you value work life balance, then you should steer clear from these types of roles.
5. How realistic is the list of requirements?
If a job description lists a skill set that a qualified, experienced professional wouldn’t be able to match, this could be cause for concern. This can best be spotted in unrealistic expectations surrounding the level of experience a candidate should have with a specific platform, framework or language, especially if it is particularly new.
6. What else can you find out about the business?
Make sure to take into account the size of the company, their culture, employee benefits, and what successes they’ve had in the past. Glassdoor and other review sites are a great way of finding out detailed information about other employees experiences within the business.
7. A high turnover rate
It’s never a good sign if you see the same job role being posted frequently. It can indicate a variety of issues within the hiring process, the company and their expectations.
Top tips for choosing the right roles to apply for:
- Be aware of the language used
- Cultural fit can be just as important as fulfilling the requirements
- If in doubt, always communicate openly with your recruiter of the hiring manager