Bad job descriptionsIt is a job-seekers’ employment market and employers are having a difficult time filling key positions – especially in sales and sales management. But we’ve found the low unemployment rate isn’t the only reason for this. The real issue is poorly written job descriptions.

Even when unemployment is low, people are still looking for sales position opportunities. Maybe they don’t like their current job, maybe they want to try something new, or maybe they aren’t even looking and your job just magically appears on their social media newsfeed.

But like all buyers’ markets, it’s not enough for them to know that you have a position open, you have to sell your company to them. And, if you’re job description contains any of these things, you’re not doing your company any favors.

Tout your company culture

Most job descriptions include a little information about the company, usually consisting of:

  1. How many people work there
  2. Where it’s located
  3. How many years it has been in business
  4. What products/services it sells/makes

But, many job descriptions skip over the reasons why someone would want to work there. Make sure your sales candidates know what makes your company so cool. Or, as we like to say, “sell your company just like you want your candidate to sell themselves to you.”

Make the job sound exciting

Here’s how the typical Sales Manager job description begins: Company Blah is seeking a sales manager who will oversee sales efforts in Boring Land and grow our Yawn to a Snore of Sleeping Snores. Where’s the love? This candidate is going to lead the charge to boost sales, attract new clients, and grow your business. Make the position sound as exciting as it will be.

Write for a real person, not “a candidate”

Yes, there’s a difference. Real people have personalities, quirks, sales styles, and more, and those traits may be attractive, or unattractive, to your organization. It’s kind of like online dating. You’re seeking a long-term relationship, so you’re not looking for any candidate, you’re looking for a partner. Therefore, you should have a job description that goes beyond the superficial job experience and describes the ideal person for this role. This isn’t a hookup, so don’t treat it like Tinder.

Don’t make the job sound overwhelming

The job requirements for a sales manager position should accurately represent the challenges, goals and metrics a successful candidate will experience. It should not include tedious minutia like these things we pulled from real job descriptions online:

  1. Additional duties as assigned – It’s like saying they’ll receive a “Mystery Gift,” and no one has ever gotten a great mystery gift.
  2. An unrealistic amount of experience – We’d like someone to manage our Instagram with 10 years of experience. This example is just for fun (because Instagram hasn’t been around for 10 years), but unrealistic experience requirements keep you from attracting employees who can bring a fresh perspective.
  3. Valid driver’s license – Will this person be driving a truck? If now, then they can always catch a cab or an Uber. (Also, this “requirement” is currently the subject of a discrimination lawsuit).
  4. The ability to work a whole shift – Is this really an issue?
  5. Unnecessarily and flamboyant descriptors like: Entrepreneurial (we just don’t think you’re using that word correctly), hard-working (no, really), impactful (ugh, use effective or impressive), proactively (we all use it, and we are all wrong).

Lastly, stop with the weight-lifting requirements

This doesn’t seem important, and it’s probably a holdover from some HR initiative in the late 1980s, but while we’ve seen dozens of sales jobs require the ability to repeatedly lift 50 lbs. we haven’t found many positions that need a candidate to possess this ability. So, what’s the big deal? For one, it’s misleading. Are you really going to have your head of sales repeatedly lift 50 lbs.? Probably not. It also takes up valuable space you could be using to describe actual job requirements, hype up your benefit packages or promote your corporate culture.

Want to attract better sales candidates? We can help. It’s why we started the Vx Group Sales Recruiting Program – a professionally-driven recruitment program to actively recruit and hire top sales talent through targeted marketing and industry expertise. This program delivers a higher percentage of ideal candidates over traditional recruiters, at a fraction of the cost.