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Guide to Writing the Perfect Job Description
Friday, Apr 08, 2016

It may come as a surprise to you that power in the job market is moving to the hands of candidates. In fact, according to recruitment expert Dr. John Sullivan, 83 percent of recruiters report that the power has shifted away from where it has been for years, the employer, and toward the candidate. No longer do companies have the luxury of simply declaring a job opening and waiting for a flood of top-notch applicants. Now more than ever, companies need to consider what their strategic recruitment plans are going to be in order to find and hire top talent. With the competition between employers stiff, setting yourself apart from the crowd is invaluable to filling your positions with the best possible people.

With 93 percent of job seekers not progressing beyond the job description page, it is important to give attention to this often disregarded aspect of recruitment. Although there are some companies that are already embracing the move toward more engaging job descriptions, there are more still who continue to use dry, outdated, and uniform templates to advertise their open positions.

The purpose of a job description is simple: explain to prospective candidates what the job entails and what kinds of requirements are necessary for consideration. But simple doesn’t have to mean boring. There are ways to convey this information that are not only new and exciting, but that prompt the reader to take action and apply for the job.

Below is a list of practical tips for getting your postings noticed and the applications rolling.

#1: Make Your Job Description Visual

It is becoming increasingly the norm that people avoid reading lengthy text. We like snapshots, blurbs, and most importantly visuals to get our information. The booming popularity of list-based web articles has made it obvious that people simply don’t have time to wade through text.

This doesn’t mean your prospective candidates would be lazy, though. Your customers and current employees feel this way – so why hold your candidates to a different standard? Keep their interest by creating fun, visual versions of your otherwise boring list of responsibilities.

#2: Pay Attention to Job Titles and Keywords

In order to increase views to your career site listings, make sure you are including searchable keywords in your job titles and descriptions. Even though “Sales Superhero” may seem quirky and fun, no one will be searching those words on the job boards. Instead, do a little research and make sure your job titles are consistent with your market. Fun and engaging is great, but ultimately worthless if no one can find the listing.

#3: Get to the Point

Make sure your list of requirements is not accidently a list of desires. If the job absolutely requires a technical skill, by all means list it. But “self-starter” and “critical problem solver” are buzz-words that ultimately fall flat on the reader. Keep your copy short and sweet, listing essentials like travel requirements and schooling and leave the soft-skill requirements like “passionate” and “driven” for the job interview.

Inc.com suggests that between 400-800 words is the optimal length for a job description. Use these words wisely in making sure your prospective candidates know exactly what they’re applying for, and are excited about it!

 #4: Keep Your Job Description Simple

End on a strong note by making it absolutely obvious what the next step should be for candidates. Give clear, concise directions on how to apply and make sure you show the reader where to go. Once they get to the application, the process should be simple. Over 68 percent of job seekers who have abandoned a job application have done so because the application process was too long or required too much information. Don’t let this be the reason you lose out on amazing talent.

#5: Make Your Job Description Mobile

According to a recent study by iCIMS, 72 percent of job seekers used mobile devices to research a company, 70 to search for a job, and 40 percent to apply for a job. If you are not already providing a mobile candidate experience, you’re potentially losing top talent! The popularity of using a smartphone or tablet to research job openings is here to stay, so it is up to organizations to respond to the demand. By making sure your career site and job postings are mobile optimized, you can increase engagement with the post and bring in candidates from any device. 

In today’s changing labor market, it is important to keep up with the needs of your talent pools. Today’s largest talent group is young, on-the-go, and plugged in. By following this advice, you can make sure your job descriptions resonate with talent in a new and exciting way.