Clear Communications Throughout Employment – Part 1: Recruiting and Hiring

Throughout the employment lifecycle, clear communications with employees is crucial for strong business operations and employer/employee relationships. This is the first of a series of articles that focus on four key periods of employment: Recruitment and Hiring, Orientation and Onboarding, Retention and Development, and Transition and Exit. I encourage employers to analyze their communication strategies for each key period and consider ways in which managers can improve their communication with their employees.

Part 1: Recruiting and Hiring

Clear communications with employees begin even before the employee has been hired. Failing to clearly explain the job duties in a position advertisement can lead to a pool of poorly qualified candidates and, ultimately, bad hiring decisions. Taking the time to carefully consider the needs of your organization and communicating those needs effectively will help ensure better qualified candidates who understand your organizational needs and their ability to fulfill them.

Job Description

Job descriptions are the building blocks of our organizations and identify the essential job functions for each position. Before recruiting for a position, take the time to thoroughly review the job description to ensure it is up-to-date.

Consider whether the essential job functions accurately reflect what will be expected of this position. If the outgoing employee has held that position for a long time, how have the organizational needs for that position changed? Recruitment is the ideal time to identify changes that can be made to a position to improve the effectiveness of your organization.

Review the required knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) for the position and consider whether they are reasonable. Are you asking too much and limiting your pool of qualified applicants? Has the position evolved to where the KSAs need to be expanded? Think about which KSAs the applicant must have at the time of hire and those that may be developed on the job. This may expand your applicant pool.

Ensure that your job description clearly identifies the physical demands and work environment for the position. This allows candidates who may need a reasonable accommodation to more easily identify if they will need to request an accommodation.

Job Postings

Job posting should directly reference the job description and, therefore, accurately reflect the essential job functions, KSAs, physical demands, and work environment. Also think about how you can reflect your organizational culture and values in your job posting. Many of us live in unique communities in Alaska. What can you tell the applicants who are applying from outside your community about your community to help them understand where they might be relocating to?

Job postings should include clear instructions for applying for the position, including multiple ways the applicant can apply. Also, review your job postings carefully for any language that seems neutral but may have a discriminatory impact on a protected group.

Communication with Applicants

Take the time to follow up with applicants to keep them informed of the recruitment timeline and when a selection has been made. This will reflect positively on your organization and may prompt good candidates who were not selected to reapply in the future.

Further information

If you have questions about the recruitment and hiring process, Carleen Mitchell is available to answer questions and provide guidance. She can be reached at