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Error 404’ Aiming for transparency in the JD

In our last article (June 5, CN), the team discussed the Recruitment Process, Tips and Traps for the Job Seeker. In this article, we would be covering insights on industry best practices for the employer and recruiter alike.

Arlene Lynch

Our economy, like most of the world, began contracting its vacancies and minimising its employee count during the initial stages of the pandemic. In 2022, JobsTT and Progressive have noticed a favourable rise in vacancies and employment opportunities, highlighting the positive outlook for business continuity. In a recent survey by JobsTT (2021), conducted amongst a sample of our database of job seekers, key sore points were shared by our respondents, with over 80 per cent preferring feedback and salary ranges for jobs being advertised and applied to – which no doubt can be alleviated by employers and recruiters alike.

While there is a market for entry-level job seekers with minimum experience, the onus is also on the recruiter, job board and employer (one taking and/or providing guidance from the other) to enhance the need for their ideal candidate.

In a quick snapshot, we would briefly discuss over the next publications five salient areas that can be used to avoid the traps when engaging possible candidates, mapping out the market, and maximising your budget when recruiting (on your own or via the aid of a recruitment agency or job board).

These areas are:

  • Clear and honest job description
  • Accompanying salary details
  • Upfront expectations of the candidate
  • Feedback (all round)
  • Company details and field

Clear and Honest Job Description

Your job description (JD) is the first piece of communication with which a potential candidate interacts. It is from this step onward that the golden opportunity emerges to engage and attract great potential and so begins the recruitment process for both the employer and job seeker.

Some roles can be clearly defined and understood by the complexity and very nature of its field. This may include radiographers, derrick-hand, mechanics, optometrists, and the list can go on.

A current ongoing trend that has taken precedence (both the employer and recruiter can fall into this trap) is combining many entry-level and even technical roles into one position.

Of course, the salary does not match the multiple roles combined under the job description that has been commonly categorised under ‘officer’, ‘assistant’, ‘coordinator’ and in other cases ‘manager’.

Let’s discuss.

Role: Marketing Officer

Job Description: The candidate must be able to prepare and develop annual marketing plans, manage overall budget expectations of the company’s goal, and achieve targets.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Manage all internal and external communication
  • Prepare content and annual reports
  • Manage all social media platforms and respond daily to queries
  • Conduct photography and all graphic design requests
  • Manage website and e-commerce store
  • Function as community and public relations officer
  • Training sales and promotional staff on products and services
  • Conduct a monthly audit and sales meeting with staff
  • Perform staff evaluation for sales and marketing team
  • Travel and meet new and potential clients
  • Conduct cold calls for new market
  • Any other duties and functions as required by the company or CEO.

Qualifications and Training

  • Undergraduate Degree in Business/Marketing/Communications
  • Advanced Knowledge of InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator
  • Advanced skills in photography and video editing
  • Certificate in Events Management

At a first glance, we can list numerous independent roles from this JD: from Social Media Manager, Graphic Designer, Marketing Assistant, PR & Communications Officer to e-commerce support officer.

The common trend is attempting to combine multiple skillsets under the same umbrella into the proverbial ‘one-man-team’, which ideally seems unrealistic and more of a wish list for a super employee.

Peter Cappelli (May 2019), author for Harvard Business Review on ‘Hiring and Recruitment: Your Approach to Hiring Is All Wrong’ echoed similar sentiments when designing jobs with realistic requirements.

“Figuring out what the requirements of a job should be—and the corresponding attributes candidates must have—is a bigger challenge now, because so many companies have reduced the number of internal recruiters whose function, in part, is to push back on hiring managers’ wish lists (‘That job doesn’t require 10 years of experience’, or ‘No one with all those qualifications will be willing to accept the salary you’re proposing to pay’). My earlier research found that companies piled on job requirements, baked them into the applicant-tracking software that sorted résumés according to binary decisions (yes, it has the key word; no, it doesn’t), and then found that virtually no applicants met all the criteria. Trimming recruiters, who have expertise in hiring, and handing the process over to hiring managers is a prime example of being penny-wise and pound-foolish.”

To reiterate, the JD aims to allow for transparency into the role, albeit a new or redesigned position on the organisational chart. At some point in the creation of the JD, the employer and recruiter can be guided as to what can be trimmed and what are reasonable expectations of the role, which of course should be aligned to the compensation package.

HR Manager at Progressive and JobsTT, Arlene Lynch notes that “there is dissonance between the job and education requirements (in addition to experience) that needs to be addressed in the JD as well”, suggestive of a more proactive approach by all authors of the JD.

It avoids overwhelming and underqualified candidates applying for the multi-singular role and overqualified professionals seeking negotiation on wages which strains the mechanisms of the recruitment process altogether.

Realistically, to support an effective job description that will elicit great applications ensure that:

  • The job title must match the roles and functions of the job
  • Give a summary of the role and expectations
  • Keep within the parameters of the immediate field and responsibilities of the job
  • Establish essential functions only
  • If possible, consult your HR manager/ resource for the roles of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which can then determine how is performance measured for the job.

In the next article we will discuss the elephant in the room – to post the job salary or not, that is the real question.


If you require any support for job posting or consultations on developing your job descriptions, reach out to the JobsTT and Progressive team at 226- 4JTT

or 226-PRSL.