6 Considerations to Create Compelling Executive Job Descriptions
With today’s competitive labour market, sourcing, screening, and engaging with the best executive talent is more difficult than ever. In order for employers to attract quality executive candidates, positioning business-critical opportunities to compel executives to engage in conversations is imperative to securing highly experienced and skilled individuals.
Job descriptions are often the initial touchpoint for potential executive candidates when considering a role at your organization.
The details listed within your job descriptions will ultimately identify who your company is, what you do, what kind of culture you are setting out to cultivate, and the ideal executive candidate profile to best align with the position, as well as the entirety of your organization.
How to write a compelling job description
We’ve compiled 6 considerations to help you position your executive-level positions more effectively. These points will help you compel and appeal to potential candidates and set the tone for continued conversations with your organization.
1. Tell Your Story
A brief introduction is an obvious necessity to set the context for the rest of the document. Outline who you are and what you do in a way that allows executive candidates to imagine themselves at your organization and how they align with the work you do and your culture. You want to be unique but keep it simple to a high-level. Consider details such as:
- How your organization began and the “why”
- Identify your sustainable competitive advantage
- The goals and objectives you have set out to achieve
- What exciting initiatives are on the horizon
Executive candidates will appreciate the simplicity yet structure to your approach in telling your story. The introduction needs to act as the hook to have them continue to read your document.
2. The Role
Here is where you describe the role and how it fits into the “bigger picture” of the organization. You should outline where this person fits into the organizational structure, what teams they will be collaborating with on a frequent basis, and what tasks encompass the position. Make sure to include:
- Who this person will be reporting to and who will report to them
- The responsibilities that come with the role
- What projects this person will oversee and how delegation will take place if applicable
In this section of your document, remember that simply listing bullet points will not suffice. You need to be able to tell the story of the role itself. Think of this section as a way to generate excitement for the impact this role will have and its critical value to the organization. You want to have the potential executive candidate’s picture themselves in the role itself and the function of their work.
3. What is unique about the role that they should know to consider it?
What exciting initiatives are currently underway and what is to be expected within the next year? Are you forecasting to hit all your revenue milestones or opening up a new location? In order to draw interest from quality candidates, identify what makes this role unique and the organization different from all the others. Include:
- The significant impact the work will have on the local community or environment
- A revamp of the organization’s website and strategic plan or large focus
- The opportunity to work alongside and learn from other senior leaders
- How this position will influence the organization’s bottom line
Whatever your appeal is, you need to deliver the message with a compelling storyline to attract highly motivated executives to want to be a part of your team and shaping your organization’s future.
4. The Desired Experience, Background & Skills
Typically, this is where criteria such as education, number of years of experience, and industry background are outlined to determine if candidates are to be considered for the opportunity or not. It is necessary for employers to describe the minimum qualifications and the necessary technical skills required for the role. In addition, don’t forget about adding in the less-technical, “soft skills” you are looking for in a new executive. Are you looking for an empathetic leader, someone who leads by example, a systems thinker, relationship-focused leader? These characteristics should also be noted in what you are looking for.
Ideal experience and skills could consist of:
- What post-secondary education/training/certifications are required or suggested for the role
- How many years of relevant experience are required
- The desired communication skills of an individual coming into this role
- What leadership and collaboration skills you are looking for
- The specific industry backgrounds or transferable skills that are needed
Whatever your criteria might be, keep it broad. You do not want to discourage excellent potential candidates from considering the role because you have too many technical skills listed and needed. Think of what is an absolute necessity not a list of everything involved for the role.
For example, if you are hiring a Chief Marketing Officer, statements should be similar to “background in digital marketing and leading creative initiatives to drive revenue” not “needs to have experience in search engine optimization, email marketing, social media, video marketing, content creation, lead generation and customer acquisition, account-based marketing, etc.” It is certainly okay to have some of the more detailed if the role has a certain focus, but try to avoid having the potential executive become discouraged as they do not check off all the requirements mentioned.
Those more specific details can be covered during the interview process when accessing their skills and fit.
5. The Challenges of the Role & Organization
Transitioning over to a new organization and position can sometimes be daunting. For an executive candidate in particular, being aware of the current state of the organization’s teams, workflow, and objectives is extremely important. Knowing the challenges that the organization and position entails will help executives distinguish if the opportunity is the right fit or not. From an employer perspective, defining these challenges will exemplify transparency and will build trust with candidates, leading to a positive and authentic brand image. You can illustrate this by mentioning:
- How teams within the organization work together
- New initiatives that will be implemented and optimized
- How COVID-19 has impacted processes
- What challenges the position faces and how to overcome them
- Current operational or team gaps
- Where have former executives in the role fell short on success
Be transparent and honest with potential candidates and they will show you the same courtesy during your interview process.
6. What has a Successful Hire Accomplished?
Setting goals, tracking progress, and reviewing performance are essential to continued development and success for an individual and an organization. Outlining specific and clear expectations from the onset will help executive candidates envision what is to be expected of them both short-term and long-term. Illustrating what senior leadership defines as “success” establishes a clear path forward and will solidify if both the new executive and employer are on the same page. Make sure to summarize your expectations for a new executive:
- Specific metrics/KPIs that the organization is looking to achieve with the addition of the new executive
- Projects that the new executive will be taking on and how they will be measured
- What integration expectations are there for the new executive with the team/company
- What revenue/sales targets should be achieved
Let potential executives understand how you will be measuring success so that they have a clear view of expectations.
Follow these 6 considerations when composing your next executive job description to help you attract and compel top executives to consider a role with your organization. By doing so, you will also enjoy the opportunity to have deeper conversations and interviews with potential executive candidates that are focused on success.