Finding a candidate to fill a job opening often feels like trying to find a needle in a haystack. However, you know you can significantly streamline your search if you are able to curate a job description that attracts only the best, most qualified talent? Indeed, if we’re going to run with this whole needle in a haystack, you could consider your job description the agricultural equivalent of a metal detector.
Finding the right person is essential, it is tough to hire someone and then find out they are not the right fit for the position or your company. It costs time, money and morale among other employees.
Every human resource professional has had to craft a job description and stumbled on making it attractive and meaningful to potential employees, it is not an easy task. At. All.
Below, are a series of reminders to help you can attract only the top folks for the job, but the off-site HR professionals at a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), are a resource for human resources to turn to for help with crafting the perfect job description.
Seems logical to start at the beginning, right? But landing on an attractive title is especially important if you plan to post to job boards, where candidates are faced with an entire screen of job postings, with only a title to go on before they opt to click for more information. With this in mind, experts agree that the job description title should include the actual name of the position (e.g. senior director), the name or type of department (e.g. marketing) as well as at least two descriptors that tell you more about the field, the company in general, or who you are hoping to attract (innovative healthcare upstart).
Roll with the Role
The opening to your job posting should include an overview of some of the highlights of the role. If you’re stumped as to what to write, consider chatting to those who are currently in the role or their manager about the “best parts” of the job and working those in accordingly. You’ll want to touch on their day-to-day responsibilities, how their work plays into the broader department and/or company’s goals, and some of the highlights of the role. This is one area where you can get creative with your language to make the job sound as attractive as possible.
Be Responsible with Responsibilities
Consider the responsibilities of the nuts and bolts of your job description. To prevent your job description looking like a giant wall of text, we recommend that this section appears as a series of bullet points. To make this section extra effective, we recommend that you also cover the requirements of the job and that you use this section to be as specific as possible. For example, if you’re looking for a CPA and use specific accounting software, make it clear that you want someone who is trained in that system or at least note that they must be willing to learn it! Another pro tip? Limit yourself to a maximum of five or so bullet points so that folks understand what is most important for the role.
Put Them Front and Center
Rather than talk about the person who will win the position, it’s better to use language that actually puts the person in the job. For example, rather than saying “the selected candidate will be responsible for X, Y, Z” it’s better to state that “in this role, you will be responsible for X, Y. Z.” Making it person-focused helps them to subconsciously see if they could actually picture themselves in the role and make a decision about whether it is something they want to pursue.
Ditch the Jargon
You might talk about drilling down, leaning in, and getting buy-in from your partners, but to an outsider, that language may mean nothing. Even if it’s very much a part of your company culture to say these things, it’s best to use common language terms in your job description so that people aren’t deterred from applying or – perhaps worse – think that they should be applying. Therefore, your clients, partners, friends or circle should become your customers and your requests for folks to drill down, take a deep dive, or go on an expedition for answers should simply state that the job role requires the analysis of data.
Talk about Your Company
A good job posting should also include some baseline data about your company – folks should be able to easily find out where you are located, how many offices there are (if applicable) and how many employees are on staff. This is also your time to brag a bit about the work your company is doing. Other relevant information to include? Concrete plans for growth (e.g. “we’re on the move to a bigger office soon” or “we’re launching a new line”), information about your corporate culture, as well as any perks employees who work for you enjoy that might include big benefits, flexible scheduling, educational opportunities, and other bells and whistles.
Tell Them What To Do
Your job posting should include clear information on what they need to do to apply to the job – or even better, a hyperlink to a direct application option. In this spot, you should also talk about your timeline for hiring and even how they will be contacted about an interview, how many interview rounds they are likely to have, and how long until a decision is rendered. In this way, you help to manage expectations and it sets up a “we’ll call you” type of relationship.
Consider Going Mobile
Depending on the type of candidate you are seeking to attract; you might want to consider narrowing down your job description so that it can be read on a mobile device. According to a recent Pew Research study, more than half of 18-29-year-olds use their phones to job search, but most job postings are intended to be viewed on a traditional computer. Experts recommend that you consider shortening your help wanted ad so that it is more mobile friendly or consider making it somewhat interactive so that folks can click on it for more details as opposed to scrolling through a long wall of text.
Even the most seasoned human resource professionals have a hard time crafting the perfect job posting. A PEO has a whole team on staff that can review your posting, work with you to make edits to enhance its appeal and help you to figure out where to post it in order to attract only the most relevant – and talented – applicants.