Originally featured on Hotel Executive – https://www.hotelexecutive.com/business_review/5705/tips-for-writing-the-perfect-job-description
While a job description is obviously the official introduction to a particular role, it oftentimes also serves as a candidate’s first introduction to the company. For hotels, job descriptions should go beyond details of what the job will entail to become selling documents that attract quality candidates. Trivago points out in its commercials that the average traveler visits seven websites before making a booking decision. How many do you think candidates are visiting? Job descriptions are basically marketing tools, and should be considered as such.
Below are six tips to writing a job description that help hotels draw from a deeper talent pool.
Hotel leaders should begin every job description with a brief introduction to the company. This should be consistent with the messaging on the company website, and should also share company values or mission statement, anything that’s been formalized and helps a candidate understand more about the corporation/parent company to the hotel. The messaging should carryover to social media, especially LinkedIn, for recruiting.
Consistency helps managers “sell the vision” of what they want their property to be like for guests, and in the cases of larger chains, it can help to point out the full opportunities that are available in the organization. A hotel’s appeal to candidates can be enhanced by including things like awards the company has won and/or what the property is known for, as well as any perks or organizations the property offers/is involved with.
Assuming the job description is published to a job board, or being handled through a recruiter, the end of every company intro should include a link to the website so the candidate can easily research the company or hotel further.
What Is The Actual Job
It’s important to have a clear understanding of the job that’s being hired for. While an older description might exist, keep in mind that the position, hotel or expectations may have changed. To understand the intricacies of the role, hiring managers and HR should conduct exit interviews to delve into the responsibilities with someone who has had the role. This first-hand knowledge about what the job actually tends to be, as opposed to what it was expected to be based on paper, can be critical in crafting a description that accurately sets expectations for prospective employees, and attracts the candidates who are most interested in meeting those expectations.
In terms of actually crafting the description of the role, hotel leaders and HR people should begin with a paragraph and list of up to 10 responsibilities the candidate would be expected to perform. Anything above that, and the candidate may stop reading. This isn’t because of an inability to perform the job. Instead, it can be because the potential employer has put too much of an emphasis on job details that are either clearly known to a professional or the employer has painted themself as a potential micromanager. Again, job descriptions are marketing documents, and the goal of this document is to attract quality candidates.
Turning it into a boring laundry list can have the opposite effect. A possible solution to this is adding something like “and other responsibilities as needed” or similar as the last item in a list of bullets.
It’s also important to remember that candidates will likely view multiple jobs on the property. For experienced candidates, this might mean researching the company to understand the type of roles their direct reports might perform. For junior or entry level candidates, this might be about identifying a growth path. How the hotel/company comes across for even entry level positions can really have an affect company wide.
Where are your candidates
Keeping knowledgeable in regards to competitors is always helpful in business and this also applies to candidates and job descriptions. Hiring managers and HR reps should look at the job descriptions that competitors are publishing. This can help determine skill sets a property may be missing, as well as a look into the roles that potential ideal candidates may be doing. Reviewing competitor job descriptions can have the added effect of providing a sneak peak into what they may be doing in the future of how they are changing their property. A little extra research can convince passive candidates that are currently with competitor properties to become more active and join your team.
It’s also important to think about where quality candidates are most likely to spend their time, online and off. Depending on the role a hotel is looking to fill, online ads, LinkedIn, radio and local papers can all be a good way to let candidates know about open positions. Word of mouth is usually at the top of the list, yes even in this day and age of hyper connectivity.
One final thing to consider is making it easy for a candidate to find the job description and application online. Don’t be scared to post a flyer at a coffee shop close to a hotel that has great staff or just let the barista know you are hiring. That little chat or flyer can lead a potential employee to check out your property and apply.
Experience: required and desired
Key job requirements should be direct and to the point. The only time to stray away from simple is when it’s a very entry level position or a junior role. This is when someone with zero experience will be considered. In these instances, the description will become more of an introduction/explanation of the job. If the role is more senior and requires experience, then explaining every requirement is unnecessary. If the position requirements change while in the recruiting process, it’s important to make sure the description is updated as well. It is never fun to be at the final stages of a job interview and have to go back and explain the job responsibilities to a candidate. It can make them feel like the rug has been pulled from under them. Not only can this mean they’ll decline the job offer, but they might share the experience with their peers. It’s always helpful to update descriptions and be mindful of who is further along the process and update them.
There are two ways to include the desired experience section. One way to add the desired experience is to include it as a bullet in the responsibilities section. At the bottom of the required list, add the desired experience and make sure to state it is required. The second way to add desired experience is to add a separate section labeled “desired” or “preferred, but not required.” Whichever way a hiring manager elects to proceed, they must be sure it is clear. This section can also give candidates an idea of what experience they will gain in the job or what certifications they can work on while employed.
Personality isn’t a section, but more of a feeling you provide within the description about the company, if the company or team is more jovial then including funny quirks or jokes about the company may make sense. If the company is cutting edge or the most fashion forward hotel then include tidbits that express that. If the property is family friendly then touch on how the property caters to that. If the property is at the luxury level then include details about how you make each guest feel special. You are just including details to help the potential employee have an understanding of the property or company.
There are other ways that a property can highlight its approach to guest service. The use of images on the company’s social media can tell a candidate a lot about a potential role.
Hotels need to make the application process simple in order to attract a wider pool of candidates. This can be achieved by letting applicants submit resumes or LinkedIn profiles, with an optional cover letter as the only other consideration.
Removing friction from the process, such as eliminating the need to include things like reference letters, awards, proof of degree, writing samples, samples of their work, etc. All of these can be hurdles to casting a wide net for candidates, and can be provided as the interview process goes further.
Great candidates can either be busy or have plenty of time, but either way they should not have to jump through hoops this early in the process. Too long of a submittal process can make a potential employer seem high maintenance and problematic. Good candidates are usually looking for an environment that is easy to work in so they can focus at the task at hand. Project that by making the process to apply an easy one.
A job description is just that, a description, but you can spice it up by infusing it with the company’s personality. Never forget to focus on the job you are recruiting for. Keep it simple and you’ll easily find the right candidates.