Hiring A Great Employee Series
Part 1: The Job Description
Writing a job description can be daunting. It is tough to decide what information is important and when does the detail become too much? Being too specific can risk limiting your applicant pool to find the “perfect” person. Yet, it also seems logical that the less specific you are, the broader the appeal. But, being non-specific or too vague may give the applicant the sense of lack of direction in your organization. They are wondering what it is exactly you are looking for, but fail to spend the time to apply to find out. Appealing to the masses may not be as difficult as you think. Keep in mind five very common motivating factors that job hunters are seeking: the ability to advance, the feeling of being appreciated, financial compensation, their time with family, and the opportunity to learn and grow professionally. The order of importance is different for each prospective employee, but keep in mind that money rarely makes it to the top of the list.
Use a specific job title or phase. My father has always joked about retiring and becoming my #1 Super Dooper Pooper Scooper. While I never took him up on his offer (maybe this is why he moved to Florida), it proves a point that we would hardly have to write a job description for this position. It sells itself!
What do you have to offer? Introduce your company or farm and talk about what is unique about your operation, your specific location and interesting things geographically close. Be sure to include whether the job is full or part-time, hourly or salary. Talk about housing if available, school districts and other amenities that bring people to your area. Maybe it is the quiet country life you are offering, but a larger city is 45 minutes away. Capture the reason someone would love to work for you. Do not forget to capitalize on your chance to offer candidates the ability to advance or the if the opportunity to lead exists.
Make sure to include specific degree, certificate or CDL requirements in your qualifications. It is fine to have a strict set of requirements, like grain handling experience, computer knowledge or communication skills, but many skills that can be taught or acquired while on the job can be mentioned as preferred or “a plus.” Adding specific job duties such as “artificial insemination and cattle OB skill are a plus,” is enticing to someone who wants to develop these skills. A person that has a skill that is “a plus” already feels confident about the position and are more likely to apply.
Job Duties and Responsibilities
Describing the daily duties of the employee is a great way for applicants to get an accurate picture of what it would be like to work for your organization. Be sure to include areas of opportunity to learn and grow professionally. Describe the roles and responsibilities that the position covers, highlighting important details. No one wants to apply for a job with a bunch of unknowns. Give applicants the confidence to apply for a job that is a good fit; a job that they will enjoy. Creating a thorough job description will improve your applicant pool and have you on your way to developing a great team.
About the Author
Dr. Colleen Lewis is a 1996 graduate of Kansas State University, College of Veterinary Medicine. Her career has taken her to many places as a practice owner, consultant, embryologist, and mentor. She enjoys mixed animal practice, teaching, traveling, farming and high school sports with her husband, Andrew and their three boys.