Although anyone can write a two-bit job description and still garner replies from average candidates, it takes real skill to craft excellent job descriptions that will attract the best kind of talent available.
So, how exactly is it done? In this article, we’ll talk about 8 effective tips that you can start implementing now to write a standout job description.
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1. Think about your ideal applicant
You might not think about it much, but there’s actually a fair amount of preparation involved when composing a great job description.
First of all, you should always keep in mind your ideal candidate when writing a job description. Think about how you would approach somebody with the right set of skills, values, and work ethics to be part of your company – and then write to them and no one else.
To help you with this, you can create a virtual candidate profile you want, which you can then use to evaluate your pool of real applicants. Consider your ideal qualifications, experience level, and skills, but don’t forget soft skills such as personality traits, personal values, and work ethic, either.
Not only will this help you write an effective job description, but you’ll also have a concrete set of standards that you can use as a baseline to assess the suitability of your candidates.
2. Showcase the company’s potential
In other words, you can breathe life into the job description by highlighting your business mission and vision statements, as well as major goals.
More importantly, you should also include how the role will contribute to that agenda. Show that you’re a company that values its employees and recognises their contribution towards the company mission.
This way, your candidates will not just be thrilled about getting a job – they will also become personally invested in the company itself.
3. Avoid overcomplicating the job description
When posting job openings, it’s important to realise two things. One, just like you, your potential applicant’s time is also precious. Two, they probably won’t waste their time reading long-winded and self-serving job summaries.
To solve this, aim to use as few words as possible. It’s also best to stick to one to four sentences per paragraph to make reading easier.
This means that you must open with attention-grabbing details, provide unique and insightful specifics about your company culture, and close with how they can rise to the occasion by applying.
Another thing to keep in mind is to avoid jargon and needless complication in your job titles. Complex words and unnecessary industry-specific terms can make your job post more difficult to read, and most readers will simply skip over them.
In addition to this, stay away from cliche lines and slang. Not only do they give off the vibe that you’re not making any effort, but they also often carry negative connotations. Some examples are phrases like “fast-paced,” “challenging workplace,” and words like “wizard,” “ninja,” and “rockstar.”
Here’s an example of a needlessly long description.
We’re looking for a tech wizard that can commit to a fast-paced and challenging work environment. You’ll help us revolutionise our current assets by creating and maintaining a solid digital presence that will accurately reflect the good spirit of our successful company.
Instead, you can just write:
We’re looking for an experienced web developer to create and maintain our company website.
4. Entice them with the salary and benefits
The salary and benefits will always be a crucial component so it only makes sense to leverage this when looking for your ideal candidate.
The more competitive the field you’re hiring for, the more you need to give candidates a better offer right off the bat so that they’ll be enticed to apply. High-quality applicants will only seriously consider your posting if you can offer them something better than what they currently have.
That said, you don’t have to include the exact salary. Just include a salary range so that they’ll know what to expect, as well as a list of additional benefits to attract them to apply.
Examples of these benefits would be:
- Flexible or negotiable hours
- Tuition reimbursement
- Pet-friendly office
5. Keep your preferred qualifications short and simple
When going through job postings, an applicant is likely to skip straight to the preferred qualification section. After all, they use this to determine not just what you’re looking for but also if they have what it takes to make the cut.
That’s why it’s important to make a list of your preferred qualifications. This could include:
- Specific college degrees
- Other educational attainments
- Technical skills
More than that, pay special attention to the soft skills you would like to see in the office. In today’s modern world, soft skills are steadily growing in importance. Essential soft skills could include:
- Flexibility and adaptability
- Conflict resolution skills
- Customer care skills
However, remember not to go overboard and list all of your expectations in the job posting. This is a great way to filter off potentially qualified candidates just because they don’t fit a small requirement that you could’ve gone without, anyway.
In short, focus on just the essentials and the non-negotiable skills and qualifications that you would like to see in your new hire.
6. Include a list of job responsibilities
Having a comprehensive list of all the responsibilities that the job entails is a great way to let potential applicants know what they’ll be doing. Make sure to keep the list concise to make it easier to digest.
7. Instill a sense of urgency
A fantastic way to create a standout job description is to make potential applicants feel that your job vacancy is a rare opportunity.
Clearly state the position’s starting date and emphasise the limited time to apply. Also, be prompt in your communications and ensure that all correspondence with the applicant is personalised.
Doing little things like these will make potential candidates feel that the job position you’re trying to fill isn’t just urgent, but also important, increasing the chance to fill the position faster.
8. Proofread for typos and mistakes
Nothing quickly erodes professionalism quite like typos and grammatical errors. These tiny mistakes can cost you a big chunk of your credibility. If they happen too often, you’ll drive away the best talent faster than you can say “Go!”
Other than that, looking over your job description one more time also gives you an opportunity to make sure that it doesn’t display hints of unintentional bias or excludes key info. As such, always have someone proofread a job posting before you publish it.
Writing a Standout Job Description
If you want the best candidates for your company, writing a standout job description is crucial.
While our list includes the best practices for writing a great job description, it shouldn’t prevent you from letting your creativity shine through.
Each paragraph is an opportunity to highlight the best in your company and role so you can greatly increase the quantity and calibre of candidates applying.
Did you know that SeeMeHired allows you to create job description templates to reuse across hiring managers and positions? Learn more about managing recruitment with SeeMeHired in a free personalised demo.