Here’s How to Write a Job Description So No One Good Will Want to Apply

You know what position I would love to apply for!? Junior (Jr.) Human Resource Manager, said no one ever!

I hate spending three seconds on job descriptions, because JD’s just scream “Personnel Department,” but I have to just take a few minutes to help out some of my HR brothers and sisters.

Recently, I came across a classic JD mistake when someone had posted an opening and then broadcasted it out to the world for a “Jr. Industrial Engineer.” I almost cried.

Would you advertise for a “Lesser Paid Industrial Engineer?”

Really! No, really! “Junior.” You actually took time, typed out the actual title and then thought to yourself, “Oh yeah! There’s an Industrial Engineer out there just waiting to become a ‘Jr. Industrial Engineer’!” Don’t tell me you didn’t, because that’s exactly what it says.

But Tim, you don’t understand. We’ve always called our less experienced Industrial Engineers, Junior, so we can differentiate them from our ‘Industrial Engineers’ and our ‘Sr. Industrial Engineers’. What do you want us to to do, call them: Industrial Engineer I, Industrial Engineer II and Industrial Engineer III?”

No, I don’t want you to do that either.

Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to title this position as “Lesser Paid Industrial Engineer” – you’ll get the same quality of responses!

You know how to solve this, but here’s why you won’t – you just have one pay band for “Industrial Engineer,” from $38K to $100K. Pay the individuals within that band appropriately for their years of experience and education.

This is a 1970’s Personnel Department practice

This is why you won’t do it. Your “Senior” Compensation Manager knows you aren’t capable of handling this level of responsibility and within 24 months your entire Industrial Engineering staff would all be making $100K — Junior’s, Middles and Senior’s!

And please don’t make me explain how idiotic it looks when you list out your little number system on your post as well (Accountant I, Accountant II, etc. because you know there just might be an Accountant out there going – “Some day I just might be an Accountant II!

If SHRM actually did anything, I wish they would just go around to HR Pros who do this crap and visit their workplace and personally cut up their PHR or SPHR certificates in front of them, like a maxed out credit card that gets flagged in the checkout line. That would be awesome!

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All this does is make it look like you took a time machine and just dropped in from a 1970’s Personnel Department.

But, seriously, if you know of any Sr. Associate HR Manager III positions, please let me know.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett
Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.