3 Steps to Learning How to Review IT Job Descriptions

Learning how to review IT job descriptions and making them better is a key skill you should have as a technical recruiter.

A technical job description to the recruiter should be like the technical specification to the developer. In this case, the software developer must understand every aspect of the software requirements to order to create a solution that solves an issue and satisfies the customer. Learn to read between the lines of a technical job description. Nothing is as it seems. A Job description is never straightforward. It doesn’t always contain all the information that makes for the best hire.

See Sample Exercise on Job Description Reviews

Human Resources departments know this – that job descriptions don’t always contain everything recruiters need to find the right candidates. Please note that this is not usually intentional, sometimes it just maybe because there isn’t an easy way to translate what the hiring manager knows into written text and into a technical job description.

What To Do?

Whether directly or indirectly through an account manager, the technical recruiter has to get the relevant technical job requirement out of the hiring manager’s head/heart onto paper. To do this effectively, here are the 3 steps:

Step 1: Learn the Technologies

Learn the technologies and processes employed by the hiring organization – whether it’s the .Net or Java framework. It’s important that the IT recruiter speak the language of the candidate and Hiring Manager. The easiest way to learn the terms is by using the word definition tool in Google or by setting up RSS feeds on websites that publish this type of information.

Step 2: Study the Job Description

Study the Job description. Every job description has unanswered questions – “why the need for a technical certification?” “How many other people are performing the same role in this team?” “What’s the pace of work in your organization”.

Step 3: Ask Questions

Ask questions – it’s better to spend some upfront time understanding the Hiring Manager’s needs and finding the right person – thus saving time and  getting it right the first time,  than assuming that we know what the hiring manager needs

Some questions to ask are (1) What are the top 3 things this candidate must have? (2) If I bring 3 candidates with similar skills or experiences, what’ll make you hire one over the other 2?

I know a few IT recruiters that feel this line of questioning is confrontational. But I can say from experience that you gain more respect from your clients and candidates when you ask and gain more insight into their needs than assume you know what they want and then cannot deliver.

Still Not Comfortable?

If you still do not feel comfortable with asking direct questions, perhaps a non-confrontational way of getting this information is by using a Request for Information (RFI) document. The RFI could have about 3 questions. These questions can then be sent to your client(s). The only issue with this is the time it takes to send and receive the information you need in order to start your recruiting process.