We recommend a simple and little known (or at least used) tactic in writing job descriptions.

Write long detailed ones emphasising the negatives, as much as the positives.  It will filter out those who are not appropriate and inspire and motivate those that are.  Most Sales Managers have not got the time to write them leaving it to others who also don’t have the time.  Recruitment agencies certainly cannot be bothered.  Most companies end up with something that will just do and is written in boring prose.

We have carried out controlled tests on the results with and without what we call our comprehensive job description.  Our recommendation reduces the wrong profile of person coming for interview.  They also tend to mean those that come to interview are not only right but already decided they want the offer, for the right reasons.

Opponents would argue that you can tell all of this at interview. The reason why this does not apply is because that firstly that is a lot of wasted time explaining the company and job to people you know you will not take forward. Secondly nearly everyone presents at interview differently to who they really are.  An interview is not an effective selection method by itself.  They are focused on selling themselves at interview giving you all the right answers. Most don’t even think if they really want the job or not until they have left.  Besides a lot of the right ones would not get that far.

We write a 3 to 4 page job description we which automatically send out after an application that has passed our first filter.  We don’t make it available before that because we wish to restrict to some extent the details within it.

A job description will have the roles and responsibilities but needs to have far more than that.  What is special about working for your company and this role particularly.  Go into the personality traits that fit in.  The social side.  Ensure the job description is not just a selling document but a filtering one. This means explaining the hard work, pressure, all the negatives with the position.  Describe with brutal honesty the type of person that the work suits and the type of person it does not.

Many positions, company brands, locations job titles heavily sell themselves and can attract the wrong person.  For example, ‘Trainee Stockbroker in the City’ sounds just what a young man wants to tell his friends where he works.  If we described it as telesales operative calling investors with the same introduction repeatedly all day, week, month.  Calling those hounded by countless other stockbrokers all day long and dealing with major rejection. Now it does not sound quite so attractive, but it is realistic as to how a trainee will start.

I am yet to find a company and job that does not have some type of pressure and negative side.  You need to be brave enough to put it in, get the right people who start with no illusions as to what the job entails.  So often it is dealing with the negatives, which determines the success in the line of work and company.  We suggest you make a review of your copy that applicant sees.   Let’s suggest some reality:

Customer Service Executive EasyJet.  (Dealing with irate customers following cancelled flights)

Professional Soldier British Army.  (Being shot at.)

Doctor Local Hospital (Dealing with constant Blood, Sweat and Tears)

Accountant (Ticking, ticking, ticking through endless ledgers trying to find mistakes.)

Police Officer (Walking cold wet streets)

Teacher (Filling in endless forms, every day.)

Your sales job might not seem so pressurised now!

The famous recruitment advert from Shackleton was inundated with applications, hitting a record at the time, from realistic suitable applicants.

“Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness.  Safe return doubtful.  Honour and recognition in event of success.”

Good quality candidates are realistic they don’t believe everything is rosy and research shows that when you add the negatives the appropriate applications increase.


For a quote on  how we can help build your sales team with profitable people please contact Alex McMillan  (+44) 07525-916574 alex@successmoves.co.uk