While most of the pressure usually falls on job applicants to go out and land their dream jobs, finding a dream candidate is just as important for employers.
The hiring process can be costly and time-consuming, which is why smart business leaders will work to avoid high turnover rates. Plus, when a good match is found between employer and employee, everyone is happier and more work gets done.
But if you want to attract the best talent, you’ll want to make sure that the first thing applicants see about your company makes a great first impression.
Why Are Job Descriptions Important?
Consider a job description the cover letter for your company. Businesses compete for the most talented employees, so your job description needs to be written in a way that draws that talent to you before anyone else.
You’re competing for the best talent you can find, so you have to stand out from the competition with a great job description.
You don’t just want to list everything you expect of prospective employees—you need to convince them that they should hit “apply now.”
That said, you’ll want to provide an honest and accurate description of the job’s main responsibilities so you can find an individual with the skills required for the position.
How to Write a Job Description
Here are seven strategies you can use to write a more effective job description and attract your dream candidate.
1. Appeal to Dream Candidates
At the top of your job description or listing, advise prospective employees not to apply unless this is their dream job.
This lets potential applicants know that you’re not just looking for someone who can do the job, but someone who will love the job. You’ll be better able to filter out candidates who aren’t sure that they’ll enjoy the work, or who wouldn’t value the work as highly as another position.
At the same time, you’ll also remind people that they deserve to find their dream job and that they should continue to search for it—even if it’s not with your company.
2. Highlight Company Values
Potential applicants will naturally be curious about your company and whether or not they can see themselves working there.
Even if it looks like a perfect match on paper, there could be problems in the long-term if the company’s culture and values don’t align with those of the candidate.
When prospective employees share your values, they’ll form more of an emotional connection with your company and want the job even more.
By stating your company values clearly above the job description or advertisement, you’ll be able to weed out candidates who aren’t a good match and attract those who are.
3. Use Industry Standard Language
While creative language can help your job listing stand out from the rest, it’s best to avoid using words that are vague or open to interpretation.
Including “guru” or “ninja” in the title can end up turning away lots of strong candidates, since those words don’t actually mean anything in terms of what it takes to perform the job.
Instead, focus on using industry standards in your ads. (Think “marketing consultant” over “marketing wizard”—unless your dream candidate also loves magic and fantasy).
This also ensures that your listing will be easier to find in searches, since job-seekers will be looking for more standard terms over imaginative ones.
4. Ask Current Employees for Input
Some job descriptions are tucked away in filing cabinets for years, but meanwhile the day-to-day duties of the job are continuously evolving.
This is why it’s important to regularly update job descriptions and ask for feedback from current employees within the same department.
They might know the ins and outs of the job a bit better than the hiring manager or HR specialist, and they can provide valuable insight about some of the most important skills and qualities needed.
Ask current employees who frequently collaborate with the position in question what they think are the necessary skills to succeed in that role.
5. Focus on Key Functions
Focus on several key functions that are essential to the job. Try to avoid unnecessary details that candidates wouldn’t understand until they’re actually working with you.
If your language is too specific, or if you describe skills that can easily be learned on the job as “essential,” you might end up turning away lots of qualified candidates.
Stick to the essentials—the 5–7 things you need a candidate to come prepared with. If there are things that can be learned on the job, you might mention those as “bonuses,” but don’t make it sound like a deal-breaker.
6. Remember to Proofread
Just as you’ll be scrutinizing their resumes, candidates will also be judging your job descriptions. Poorly-written job advertisements can be a major turn-off, so always give your job description a few comb-throughs before posting it.
Make sure your language is clear. Avoid vague or abstract phrases, since the whole point here is to get the right match to come to you.
If you’re not clear about what you want, you’ll have to weed through far more candidates that probably aren’t great fits, and that costs time and resources. You should always aim for a higher quality of candidates rather than simply trying to get as many job applicants as possible.
Try using bullet points and breaking the description up into clear sections so it’s easy to read and job-seekers can quickly scan the main points.
Use a format that’s visually appealing and that highlights the most important aspects.
7. Engage Applicants
Strive to make your job listing as engaging as possible. You might include videos of other current employees explaining the company culture or describing why they love working there.
Potential candidates will be much more likely to apply if they can get a feel for how the company works (and especially if they see other people who are happy to work there).
If a video recording isn’t an option, link to social media accounts or any other platforms where candidates can see and learn more about the company.
Job Description Template
Download our easily customizable job description template and use it as a guide to help you craft a great job description.
Attract the Right Candidates
By writing a more effective job description, you can attract the right candidates to your company—making your recruitment process easier and saving you lots of time, money, and resources.
Remember that your job description can be used as a marketing tool. It’s likely the first thing prospective employees will read about your company, so make a great first impression to bring your dream candidates to you!
And if you’re currently on the market for a new job, TCK is hiring! Check out our jobs page to see current openings and learn more about us.
Which hiring strategies work best for your business? Feel free to share in the comments below!
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- How to Find Your Dream Job: 9 Steps to Getting the Job You’ve Always Wanted