The job description is to the search as the foundation is to the house.

Simply put, the job description is the foundation of the search. Good, solid job specification – good search. Poorly written, full of holes job specification – bad search. It’s just that simple. Yet as well all know, “simple” often escapes corporate America.

After years in recruiting it still surprises me (and I know it shouldn’t) that so little time is spent on the development of this critical document. Usually, a hiring manager asks someone in HR to send them a description for a job. That description hasn’t been updated in five years. The hiring manager spends five minutes reviewing it and thinks it’s good enough because he’s busy and got work to do. That description then gets posted and is the document that guides the search process.

Some time, effort, and energy should be invested at this all-important phase of the process. Ensuring a great job description gives you the best start to a great search. And it should be said, Mr. Hiring Manager, that this is really your responsibility – not the recruiter’s. Sure, we’ll help you spice it up and tweak it about, but we shouldn’t write it for you. A good job description should create a compelling story and an emotional connection about the work that needs to be done, not just list a bunch of stuff you are looking for in a candidate. This takes work, thought, and reflection. It creates the connection between organizational strategy and the day-to-day work in the job. But most importantly, it’s the organization’s first opportunity to impress A+ talent.

Don’t short-change the work on your foundation. If you do, your house may never get built.