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How to Write a Job Description That Attracts Top Talent (Plus 3 Mistakes to Avoid)

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According to LinkedIn, hiring managers who understand how to optimize recruiting can shorten the hiring cycle by 60% - but many companies struggle to write compelling job descriptions that attract the right candidates.

A job description is about more than just letting people know about an open position. It's about setting the right expectations, attracting the right applicants and ultimately presenting your employer brand to the outside world.

Companies that write poor job descriptions, on the other hand, risk wasting weeks or months reviewing applications that don't suit them. This could even damage your company's reputation if you let it go.

What Is A Job Description?

A job description lists the most important tasks of a position. It provides an overview of the content of the position and is intended to convince qualified applicants to apply.

Why Is A Good Job Description Important?

Writing good job descriptions is important because they help attract talented and motivated candidates to your company.

Additionally, job descriptions are a way to advertise your company. It's important to pack the brand's core values into the core of the message. Strive for clarity and use simple, concise and concise language. Avoid rambling too much and don't include unnecessary information.

Ultimately, it's all about grabbing the attention of job seekers, so keep it short to cut through the clutter and noise of the competitive job market. Remember that your company is competing with other companies - often direct competitors - for their attention.

How to Write a Great Job Description: 7 Steps

Writing a good job description doesn't have to be difficult, but it should be carefully considered. You need to go beyond the vague idea of "someone who has everything they can do" and think about what that person's abilities actually look like.

At the very least, you should include important details such as:

  • How much experience does the applicant have to have?
  • What tasks will they take on?
  • What type of skills are you looking for?
  • What type of team will they be on?
  • What compensation and benefits can you offer?
    In addition to these basic aspects, there are other steps you can take to take your job descriptions from good to great. Use the following steps to answer these questions and create your next job posting.
  1. Choose a precise and meaningful job title

To write a good job description, you need to know how to attract the right candidates by presenting the right job title. Candidates reading your job ad will look at this element first and consider whether the title matches what they are looking for.

That's why it's important to use job titles that are as familiar and recognizable as possible. Email Marketing Guru may sound more exciting than Email Marketing Specialist, but if you don't use terms that candidates are searching for, they might not even see your exciting job title.

Remember, tailor the approach to the applicants' needs - not your own.

If your company is hiring for a unique position that doesn't fit a traditional job title, choose as clear a title as possible. Try to use keywords that identify the main functions and features of the position so that applicants can find your job posting and understand the position at a glance.

2. Write a good introduction

In the first sentence of your job posting, you need to put your marketing hat on and grab your readers' attention. At this point, they've probably decided that the job title matches their skills - they've asked the question "Can I do this?" answered. In the first few sentences of your job posting, they start thinking about their interests, goals and desires - they have to answer the question: "Do I want to do this?"

The introduction should help your potential applicants answer this second question with a resounding “Yes!” to answer. Highlighting a handful of enticing features, benefits, or responsibilities of the job in advance can help get job seekers interested in applying.

3. Outline the essential work tasks

Before you write a meaningful job description, you should define the main tasks of the position together with the HR manager.

Fun fact: The human brain can only store between five and nine pieces of information in short-term memory. A long list of tasks would only overwhelm applicants and obscure the most important information. So start with five tasks and try to keep the list short.

If you prioritize a handful of simple, clear points that are critical to the job and require specific experience, your candidates are more likely to understand the full scope of the job on the first read through.

4. Breaking down the average day

Another great way to understand how to write a good job description is to go through what your new employee will do on a day-to-day basis at your company. Work with the hiring manager to list how much time this person will spend on core daily tasks and how much time they will spend on occasional peripheral tasks.

This will help you highlight the right points when writing a job advertisement. For example, if your editors spend 75% of their time writing emails and rarely write a video script, listing both as primary tasks could set false expectations for your target candidates.

This may help you attract enthusiastic candidates in the short term, but the new employees you hire will be confused and frustrated if the job doesn't meet their expectations, and you'll have to deal with longer-term consequences like attrition.

5. Define what success means for the position

Next, consider how you or your hiring managers plan to measure success for this position. Is it based on quantity or quality? Is the team competitive or cooperative? Are the goals measured in terms of revenue, leads, user reviews, or another metric?

Answering these questions in the list of job requirements and responsibilities is important for both applicants and hiring managers. It's about setting the right expectations. When managers understand what a new employee needs to do to be successful, they can look for corresponding qualities in potential applicants. And when candidates know what a job requires, they can honestly assess whether they are willing and able to meet those requirements.

6. Consider the training process

Consider how much training your company is willing to offer for the position. Your company's training capabilities will help you fine-tune the requirements in your job postings, such as: B. Extent and nature of experience, skills, certifications and knowledge.

Of course, every new employee needs training during the onboarding process to familiarize themselves with your company's systems and culture - but what about training beyond that?
Is your company ready to hire an entry-level employee who may need to learn a few skills before fully filling the role? Or do you need an expert who can take on the position immediately?

Answer these questions before you begin the hiring process so you don't waste time searching for candidates who don't fit your company's needs.

7. Sell Your Organization

In addition to the description of the position, a good job advertisement should also contain important information about your company.

This is a good opportunity to explain your company's mission, vision, and values if you have them. You may also want to mention unique benefits and perks, well-known projects or clients, testimonials from current team members, and details about your company culture. This section is about more than just telling candidates what your company does - it's about getting the candidate excited about the idea of working for your company.

3 Things to Avoid When Writing a Job Description

By following the steps above, you'll be able to write consistent, effective job postings time and time again. However, knowing how to write an effective job description means not only knowing what to include, but also what to leave out.

Here are three elements to avoid in any job description.

  1. Biased language-

While some examples of bias are obvious, unconscious bias is not so easy to avoid. The challenge lies in the name - because they are unconscious, they are often unintentional and therefore harder to detect if you are not careful.

Bias can creep into job descriptions through gendered or otherwise distorted wording. For example, it's easy to use neutral pronouns like "she" instead of "he" or "she" in your description, but you may not realize that describing your ideal candidate as "data expert" or "multi-tasking ninja" attracts female candidates could deter you from applying.

Once you've finalized your job description, you should review it again (perhaps using a tool like Textio) to make sure your wording is fair and neutral.

2. Walls of Text-

More and more candidates are searching for job opportunities from their cell phones and social media. That's why it's important to customize your job description so that it's easy to read on the go, with bulleted lists and clear headings.

If applicants have to spend several minutes scrolling through long paragraphs of text to find the most important information about the job, your company is missing out on many qualified applicants

3. Laundry Lists

As we mentioned before, it's important to boil your job description down to a few clearly stated requirements. Don't confuse your wants with your needs, or you could end up turning away perfectly qualified applicants who think "I can make good chili for our cooking competition" is an important skill.

Sometimes hiring teams focus too much on what they want in a candidate rather than what the job actually requires. They create a long list of so-called requirements that are really just preferences.

To stand out from the crowd, you need to know how to write an effective job description.

Too many requirements can drastically limit the pool of applicants, and that's not a good thing. They could exclude high-quality applicants who don't meet all the criteria but could still do an excellent job.

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