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How to Write a Job Description To Attract Amazing Applicants

in Trends & Insights Succeeding At Work

by Talmundo
July 20, 2017

Most companies spend lots of time and money perfecting their marketing copy — but when it comes to writing a job description, it’s like they either outsourced it all to a robot or copied and pasted from the same boring template every other company is using.

But that’s not what you’re going to do! You’re going to write an amazing job description that attracts stellar candidates — just like your marketing and sales copy attracts great customers. In fact, according to LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends report, 46% of recruiters said they see “recruiting becoming more like marketing.” Only, instead of marketing your product to customers, you’re marketing your company to potential employees.

That mindset is the key to building a brand that attracts top talent to your organization. And you want to attract top talent, right? Here’s how.

(Are you a job seeker? Try this: How to Showcase Your Leadership Experience and Land the Job)

Laser-focus your tone and message

Don’t settle for a generic job description, or you only attract generic candidates. You’ve perfected your brand voice in other areas of your business, so bring that into your job descriptions!

The first step is to kill the buzzwords. Job seekers aren’t dazzled by requests for “coding ninjas” or “social media rockstars” these days. And those Millennial and Gen Z job seekers can certainly read between the lines well enough to know if you’re faking the hip jargon.

Instead, write a job description in a way that’s true to your organization’s culture and voice. Think about the type of person you want to hire. Are they energetic and efficient? Growth-minded and willing to learn? Team-focused and willing to put their ego aside? Imagine your ideal target applicant, and use language and ideas that will attract and excite this person.

Additionally, catchy visuals will help spread the word about your opening online, increasing the likelihood of reaching the right person through social media. Start by adding a picture of a cat somewhere on the landing page for the current job opening. Just kidding! Or are we? 

Use the right keywords

Gone are the days when you would advertise in your local paper, or put “help wanted” sign up in your window. These days, online rules: According to Jobvite, 42.9% of job seekers reported search by job board, while 32.1% search career sites. This gives you access to a broader number of candidates, but also means you’re job description is competing in a giant search engine with companies from all over the world.

Make sure your job descriptions show up in search results by using the right search terms. Do some research into the most common keywords potential candidates would be searching for and use those, even if you use another title internally. For example, using the term “iOS developer” will get you in front of more qualified candidates than “iPhone wizard,” even if the latter is what’ll eventually go on the new hire’s business cards.

Nail the skill sets

Every position you hire for will be unique to your company, even if it’s a pretty common role. That’s why you can’t just copy and paste a range of skill sets from another job description — you have to customize it to get the exact right person.

Ask yourself what a successful candidate will need to do differently when working for your company. What unique challenges will they face? What specialized software will they need to learn? What oddball talents are going to be important? One way to make sure you’re getting the exact right skill blend is to ask people who have worked in that role — or who work alongside that role — for their input.

Paint a picture of the day-to-day

Job candidates don’t just want to know what skills are required of the job. They also want to get an idea of what they’ll be doing day in and day out. What are the major projects they’ll be working on? Will they have a mix of duties? What will that look like? How will their role function within the organization as a whole, and who will they report to?

Give them enough details that they can daydream (accurately!) about how great this job will be. Differences in expectations is one of the main reasons new hires churn in the first few weeks of the job — and that can be a painfully expensive mistake!

Decide if you’ll spill the beans on The salary Front

Experts are divided as to whether or not you should state the salary in your job description. On the one hand, not listing a salary lets you keep your options open when it comes to considering a range of candidates. But on the other, job seekers and employers alike waste a lot of time and money on promising interviews that grind to a halt when both parties realize how vastly different their salary expectations are.

Consider this: the average interview process takes 22.9 days, and 25 percent of candidates have rejected a job offer after finding out that the pay was lower than expected. That’s a long time to spend in the interview process if you have a one in four chance that the candidate was never in your price range in the first place.

A great job description is just the first step

Once you’ve found that perfect candidate and made them an offer they can’t refuse (in a good way), the real work begins. Make sure your onboarding program is every bit as incredible as the job description you wrote, and you’ll be well on your way to having an organization filled with amazing talent.

Looking for more hiring advice? Avoid these Onboarding Fails: 5 Simple Strategies To Freak Out Your Newest Employee, then request a demo to see how Talmundo could be your perfect onboarding solution.