A large part of the success of your business or company depends on the talent you hire and their investment in their work. In order to find the right staff, you need to write the perfect job description that is going to attract the type of people you need in your workplace. The job description you write when looking for a potential new employee is the first engagement that they’ll have with your company and it could determine whether or not they decide to apply for the position. It’s a vital element of the recruitment process and the importance of carefully constructing the job description shouldn’t be underestimated. While there are is some essential information you should always include in a job description, here are eight tips on how to craft the perfect one that will you get the talent you need.
1. Outline The Overall Purpose Of The Role
Once you’ve established a clear job title but before you launch into the requirements and responsibilities expected of the new employee, it’s worth outlining the actual purpose of the position. This is more than just the name of the role, this is about defining the job, why this particular position exists and how it functions within the business. It is a way of letting the potential candidate know how they could be adding value to the company and understanding the objectives that they would be expected to achieve.
2. Ask Questions
An efficient and simple way of filtering through the candidates you want, and those you don’t want, is to ask questions throughout the job description that help a job seeker determine if they are the person for this particular role. Yes or no questions such as ‘are you the type of person who loves working with animals and thinks outside the square?’ immediately tells a person reading the description whether or not they should apply for the position being advertised. Part of attracting top talent means polarising your audience of job seekers. Questions in a job description also act as a hint or guide to potential candidates when it comes to submitting their resume and cover letter in the application process. They know what skills or qualities to emphasise.
3. Separate Necessary Skills From Preferred Skills
There are always going to be certain skills or qualities that the new employee must have in order to do the job required and meet their objectives. For example, if you work with migrants and refugees it might be necessary that the employee speaks a second language. However, it is important to differentiate between those skills that are absolutely essential in order for the business to function and more desirable skills. Listing too many requirements of the candidate might turn away perfectly good people. Instead, separate the two lists to create tiers of desired characteristics and experience. However, be wary of being too vague when listing the attributes that you’re looking for. List competencies that a person will be able to then backup with experience. One example would be if you list leadership experience as a desired quality, then the potential candidate can qualify this characteristic by something they have done in a previous workplace.
4. Use Keywords
There are thousands of job postings online, which means to ensure that your job description is found and read by a wide audience you need to make it as ‘searchable’ as possible. A lot of people search for jobs using specific keywords rather than job titles necessarily. For this reason, it is important to include keywords throughout the job description. When deciding what the best keywords are for your advertisement, keep in mind the type of candidate you’re looking for and what they might be searching for when looking for a new job. You can use this to make your description of the role more specific. Be careful, however, that you don’t become so focused on keywords that the language of the advertisement is dull and uninteresting for the job seeker. Find a balance between keywords and keeping the description fun and engaging.
5. Paint A Picture Of Your Workplace
If you want to attract high-quality candidates, you don’t just have to make the position your advertising sound good, you need to make the whole workplace environment and company culture sound appealing. You want job seekers to be able to get a sense of what the company is like and what it would be like working there. The personality and culture of the company should be reflected throughout the language used in the description but it is also worth including a short paragraph or video about your company, its mission and its values within the description. A video is one way to make your advertisement stand out from the many other job postings and to get potential candidates excited about what you do.
6. Be Mindful Of Your Use Of Language
One area which can sometimes be overlooked in the writing of job descriptions is making sure that you are always using inclusive language. Sometimes, even subconsciously, we use language that can be viewed as discriminatory in that way that it might exclude certain people. Not only do you not want to risk offending potential candidates, you don’t want to be legally liable. Avoid language that could be viewed as discriminatory on the basis of race, gender, religion, disability, age or sexual orientation. For example, don’t use terms like ‘salesman’ or ‘manageress’ or don’t list it a requirement that a candidate needs a driving licence if they won’t be required to drive for the job.
7. Keep It Brief
Studies show that on average it takes a job seeker about 50 seconds to decide whether or not a job is the right fit for them based on the description. They assess this is under a minute by skimming through the ad. For this reason, long and wordy job descriptions are not the way to win over potential candidates. Keep your job description short and sweet but make sure it has enough information to be engaging. Aim for somewhere between 400 and 800 words and be concise and clear in your use of language.
8. Think About The Layout
Knowing that job seekers make up their minds pretty quickly about whether a job is for them, be aware of the visual layout of your job ad. You want it to be visually appealing to potential candidates and to reflect the nature of your business or companies. Use headings and bullet points to add more structure to the job description and to make it clear to the job seeker what you’re looking for.