Writing a solid and attractive job description isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
This point was made by Bonnie Schedin, partner and certified assessments practitioner at Pneuma Advantage, a division of The CompuTrek Group that dedicates its time to coaching businesses into increased profitability.
With 35 years of experience in human resources management and business coaching, Schedin is an expert in all things HR. When it comes to recruiting and headhunting, she is quick to point out that it is not always easy to find the right person for the job.
“[Shops] do just enough to maybe get a top performer, and that’s why employers are so frustrated. You have to plan and prep for writing a job description in order to attract the best candidates,” Schedin says.
Before you write and post a job description, it’s important to define what exactly the job entails, which will set you up for success down the line. Schedin emphasizes the importance of each shop having an operations manual.
“In this industry, employers absolutely need to have a clear understanding between their job description and the position’s job operations manual,” Schedin says.
An ops manual is a written explanation of the “how-to” of the job. It lays out expectations for the employee to follow and creates the space for organization and systematic flow within the shop.
“If for nothing else, have it for liability. If you need to let someone go, you have an operations manual showing that they’re not doing their job,” Schedin says.
Preparing the position first also makes writing the job description much easier. The position description will not be the same as the ops manual word-for-word, but it is a birds-eye view of it. For example, where the operations manual says, “When you answer the phone, you need to answer within three rings,” the job description will say, “Greet the customer in a timely manner.”
Another point to take into consideration is the potential employee pool available. Cindy Kostelac, a senior employer account manager at Universal Technical Institute educates employers on how to recruit and fill their technician needs.
“In today’s market for technicians… the available candidates with experience are not plentiful…. Therefore, it is important [for shops] to open up their options for potential candidates to include entry-level technicians,” Kostelac says.
After creating an ops manual for the position, the next step is to figure out what your ideal candidate looks like.
Schedin says that no matter the position, a good contender should be committed to the job, passionate about the industry, and pass a behavioral assessment.
Each candidate should be asked to sign an agreement that says they agree with and will embody the core values, mission statement, duties and responsibilities that come with the job.
“This is an agreement, and it’s worded as a commitment that it’s up to the candidate to take responsibility for the position,” Schedin says.
Gauge their passion for the industry:
Does the applicant have a passion for the industry, or is it just a job? A person needs to have passion for the job in order to be a good fit for it, and you can usually tell in the interview if they are passionate by how they speak about the industry. Is the tone of their voice upbeat? Do they seem excited to be interviewing?
“You want to get the right person in the right job for the right reasons,” Schedin says.
Assess their behavioral and cognitive skills:
Schedin emphasizes the importance of having each applicant take a job-fit assessment. This tells the employer if the person can do the job, and it highlights behavioral traits that will show up in that particular position, such as their motivation level and social skills.
Organizations such as Schedin’s Pneuma Advantage have assessments already created and available for employers to send to applicants.
“If you look at companies that are hiring, only 14 percent will find a top-level performer by using traditional processes of hiring. Adding a job fit assessment brings that number to 75 percent,” Schedin states.
Having an ideal candidate can help in writing a job description, but seeing the bigger picture of the industry is crucial.
“Being realistic with your expectations is more important [than getting exactly what you want in a new hire],” Kostelac says.
After you have figured out what the position entails and what the ideal person for the job looks like, you can begin writing the description.
Schedin states that a good job posting will include these things:
A brief overview of the shop’s core values and mission statement. What does your shop stand for? You want the applicant to think, “Yes, I agree with these values and I want to be a part of a shop that cares about these things.”
Character and behavioral traits needed for the position. This is also where you should disclaim that each applicant needs to take a job-fit assessment before interviewing.
The expectations and physical requirements of the job. The nitty-gritty details of what the job entails are put here. This part of the description can be a list of bullet points based off of the operations manual.
A disclaimer that the position posting is not an employee contract. You should say something like, “The job description does not include all the duties and responsibilities of the position.” As your business evolves, so might the positions. You will want to run this disclaimer by an HR expert person to make sure it complies with local, state, and federal laws.
A brief overview of the incentive plan for this position. Any employer looking to hire must have an incentive plan in place. “Shop owners need to do their forecasting and budgeting… because they have to validate the position,” says Schedin. “The shops that are retaining employees...have a future for their employees and pay them well.”
Schedin states that what attracts a person to a position is the working environment, community connection, opportunity to climb the ladder, pay, and benefits. Kostelac adds that having a train-as-you-go program in place is also a great incentive. Keep these in mind when setting up your incentive plan.
Where and When
Once you have your job description written, you should be strategic about where and when you post it.
Schedin suggests posting your job advertisement on job search websites such as Indeed.com, more specific sites for the industry like automotiveprofessionals.com, and for some audiences, other general sites such as Craigslist.
Shops should be deliberate about when they post positions. Schedin says that most employees are released after a holiday. Because of this, posting your position either right before the holiday or immediately after is best.
However, timing is not everything.
“Timing is not as important as being responsive when resumes are sent [in],” Kostelac points out.
Schedin says to set your intention on having everything ready before you need to post a position. This way, all the work is done and you have a quality job posting that will attract good candidates for the job because you have gone through and done the work.
“The scarcity mindset is really what’s holding a lot of automobile repair shops back... [The reason] they may not be hiring top level performers or attracting the people that they want is because they are just not prepared,” Schedin says.