Talent Acquisition

How to Write Better Manufacturing Job Descriptions

Manufacturing is a vertical with several special considerations in recruiting. You’ll need experienced, skilled candidates for niche positions in most cases, and that means you’ll need to write accurate, appealing job descriptions if you want to attract them.

Why job descriptions matter for manufacturing

Why is it so important to have top-notch job descriptions for manufacturing positions?

  • Onsite responsibilities. Manufacturing jobs are usually physical and revolve around the use of specific equipment. Describing an individual’s onsite responsibilities and surroundings is essential during the application process; not only will you attract better candidates from the get-go, you’ll also stand a higher chance of retaining them in the future.
  • Skills and qualifications. Most manufacturing positions contain phrases like “all experience levels,” which describe the skills and qualifications necessary for those positions. While entry-level positions do exist, many high-level positions require a significant degree of experience in specific areas. It’s important to address these requirements with focus and precision, or you’ll end up with a pool of applicants who don’t meet your baseline requirements.
  • Sheer numbers. Some positions are entry-level, which means you’ll see an overwhelming number of applicants for them. Writing better, more accurate descriptions will help you ensure these pools are filled with smaller numbers and better-qualified candidates.
  • Differentiation. We’re on the verge of a talent shortage in the manufacturing industry, thanks to “sexier” industries and college educations drawing away many candidates here. That means manufacturers are in fiercer competition with one another. Already, many manufacturing positions are indistinguishable from one another in the plain, straightforward way they’re described, so it’s important to have your description differentiated to gain a competitive advantage.

How to improve your descriptions

So how can you make your job descriptions better?

  • Be specific. This is the golden rule for job descriptions, and it applies to a number of different areas. The job title should be specifically reflective of the position, the requirements should be concretely and unambiguously acknowledged, and your expectations of candidates should be clearly stated. The more details you include here, the better—this will help ensure you get the perfect fit.
  • Define daily responsibilities. Don’t just list the equipment that will be used or what the environment is like; make sure you describe what a “day in the life” is like. What will this person be doing every day? How will that change over time, if it changes at all? This glimpse into the future will serve as an additional filter to sort out uninterested candidates.
  • Acknowledge conditions. Conditions in manufacturing can vary from very loud, dirty, and somewhat dangerous, to calm, serene, and office-like—all depending on the manufacturer and the nature of the position. Accordingly, you’ll need to describe those conditions accurately to clarify any misconceptions and adequately prepare your candidates for what may come.
  • Address your workplace culture. What are the core values of your company? How much collaboration takes place? How do people treat one another? These cultural components are more important than you may realize, and may serve as the tiebreaker in getting someone skilled to apply.
  • List the benefits. Though your pay may be based on previous experience, you should list the peripheral benefits to working at your location. Do you currently offer insurance or any kind of retirement plan? Are there discounts for the goods you produce? The little perks here will help differentiate your business and make it more appealing.
  • Describe your performance evaluation. Your applicants should also know how their performance is going to be evaluated over time. Are there productivity minimums or quotas that they’ll need to adhere to? Are there other standards in place?
  • Update your descriptions regularly. It’s also vital that you update your job descriptions on a regular basis. Even though your company and the equipment you use may remain relatively constant, there may be significant changes in your internal hierarchy, your pay and benefits, or even the skills you want to see in your workers. Reviewing your descriptions at least a few times annually can help you keep them in accurate order.

If you can follow these strategies in creating and updating your manufacturing job descriptions, you’ll attract a richer pool of potential applicants and ultimately enjoy a team of more talented workers. It’s a relatively small investment with an enormous potential payoff, so don’t procrastinate implementing this strategy. If you’re unsure about your changes, consider using an A/B test, with both versions in circulation, to determine which one is capable of attracting the best people. As long as you keep moving closer to your ultimate goal of better recruitment, you’ll be in good shape.

About the author: Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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