9 Tips for Writing Strong Job Descriptions

job-requirements[Images: Getty Images]When hiring, it pays to craft stellar job descriptions.

Great employees are the lifeblood of your spa—they keep your customers happy and they represent your brand. Unfortunately, 66 percent of companies in the U.S. have been affected by a bad hire, according to CareerBuilder. A spa manager’s first line of defense is a proper job description, says Dori Soukup, owner of business solutions provider InSPAration Management. “Take your time composing thorough position descriptions, and they can help you avoid the high cost of replacing,” she says. Here, we offer nine tips for writing descriptions that attract— and retain—great talent.

    1. Use Straightforward Job Titles: Your company culture may favor creative job titles, such as “Phone Ninja” or “Relaxation Guru,” but these terms won’t show up in results when a potential employee is looking online for a new position. Instead, use titles that are search engine friendly. Dawn Nooney, owner of Renew.calm spa in West Springfield, Massachusetts, chooses straightforward, commonly queried descriptions like “Front Desk Receptionist,” “Nail Tech,” “Massage Therapist” and “Spa Manager” when she posts job openings.
    2. Write the Perfect Length: When it comes to writing job specs, less is not more. “Unfortunately, many spa owners use vague descriptions that are only about a paragraph in length,” says Soukup. A job description has two purposes: It helps you write effective job ads, and can also serve as a blueprint for managing an employee once hired. Soukup recommends creating an in-depth overview of the position that includes the responsibilities, skills and characteristics you expect from the individual. Outline the reporting relationship; pay structure, such as hourly, salary or commission; working hours; and personal standards, including dress code or behavior expectations. As you create the ad, use the overview to craft a bulleted list of responsibilities and skills to use once you’ve hired the right person.
    3. Be Upfront About Critical Duties: Selling retail items and doing laundry may sound like reasonable parts of the job to you, but do candidates know that? Prospective employees need to understand the role before they sign on, says Soukup. “What are their specific duties, and what are your performance measures and expectations?” she asks. “You don’t want someone coming to you on their first day and griping, ‘You want me to do what?!’”
    4. Infuse Your Company Culture: A job description should reflect your spa’s culture and mission, and one way to do that is by including lots of appropriate adjectives. Bruce Schoenberg, owner of Oasis Day Spas in New York City and Westchester, New York, likes to use inspirational words like “first class,” “stress free,” “exceptional” and “valued.” “We’re looking for the right people,” he says. “These descriptions ask candidates, ‘Do you have the right stuff ?’”
    5. Avoid Gender Bias: Although adjectives are useful, make sure they don’t unintentionally exclude certain candidates. Nearly 70 percent of job ads contain gender biased wording, according to research from ZipRecruiter. The job search site notes, for example, that action words promoting competition, such as “strong,” “ambitious” and “assertive,” have been shown to attract more male applicants, whereas words promoting inclusiveness, like “nurture,” “thoughtful” and “concerned,” attract more females. Gender-neutral wording, such as “exceptional” or “focused,” has been shown to receive 42 percent more responses. To strike the right balance, ask yourself, “Does this word overly suggest competitiveness or belonging?” Limit your use of adjectives, or combine masculine and feminine words in the same ad.
    6. Don’t Be Afraid to Brag: Great candidates want to work for a great company, so remember to extol the virtues of yours, says Schoenberg. “Our ads start with, ‘Oasis Day Spa, named Best of New York, seeks exceptional people to join our team,’” he shares. “We sell ourselves as a place they want to be. People want to play for a winner.”
    7. Highlight a Career Path: Forty-four percent of people who switch companies said they accepted their new job because it offered a stronger career path, according to LinkedIn’s 2017 Global Talent Trends Report. Make sure you provide information about training and growth opportunities, and describe how the position ranks in your spa’s hierarchy, using words such as “senior” or “entry level.”
    8. Close with a Clear Call to Action: Don’t make the mistake of leaving out vital information. End your job description by telling applicants exactly what to do next, and don’t forget to include contact information for the hiring manager (or other relevant employee). Schoenberg asks candidates to email their resumes and cover letters. “We always state ‘No phone calls,’” he adds. “We want candidates to follow our hiring process.” Plus, of course, this indicates that they can take direction in general.
    9. Consider Enlisting a Coach: Hiring can be hard for spa professionals who don’t have a background in human resources. “It’s easier to find the right hire when your job ad is an accurate reflection of your business,” says Nooney. “A business consultant or coach who focuses on talent acquisition is a worthwhile investment, as they can help you write tailored descriptions.”


–by Stephanie Vozza



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