26 Apr 5 Savvy Things Hiring Managers can do to Turbocharge Job Descriptions
If you are reading this and you are about to post a job description you just copied and pasted, I urge you to slowly remove your finger from the enter key. Take a deep breath and spend a few minutes on this article. Look, I feel you. You’re busy and you need someone on your team yesterday. But please consider that simply posting a laundry list of skills and responsibilities is NOT the best way of attracting top-notch candidates.
Why? Because the job description you have may be outdated and doesn’t reflect current reality or worse- doesn’t resonate with your target audience. Take it from Principal and Chief People Strategist, Glenn Nishimura “The purpose of a job description is to define performance, and the responsibilities and expectations that contribute to that performance. But when you’re looking to hire a person to assign it to, you can’t simply display the whole thing in all of its lengthy, bullet-point-by-bullet point glory.
An effective job posting must be part descriptor and part marketing, and should be crafted more like a movie trailer for the job description—brief and exciting, with compelling highlights and an irresistible call to action.”
Right, so how do you this? Here’s 5 savvy things you can do to turbocharge your job descriptions.
1. Think like a candidate
Imagine you’re doing a job search for the role that’s open on your team. What keywords and titles would you use on search engines? Make a list then try it on sites like Google, Indeed or LinkedIn.
Ask yourself, do these jobs sound like a good match to you? How likely would you apply to them? If the answer is a resounding “Heck yeah!” save that job description. Try to collect two more then review why you love them. Typically, well-written ones have a good format and a good tone. They’re conversational- like how you would talk to a friend about a job in your company that you want to refer them to.
A few caveats. Don’t go too casual unless that reflects your company culture. General rule of thumb is to keep the tone smart and professional. Avoid using cliches or sounding too sales-y.
2. Review what your top performers have
What makes your top performers good at their job? How do they successfully accomplish projects? Or continue to exceed expectations? What motivates them? Are there any common traits? characteristics? or set of behaviors?
Please dig deep as this goes beyond just personality. Once you start reflecting on their X-factor start writing out what your ideal candidate would look like. What would they want to hear? What type of projects or problems is your team working on that would pique their interest? What makes your team special? How would they fit into it?
3. Write for diversity
Keep in mind your team’s weaknesses as well. It’s great to recruit and work with like-minded people but remember that diversity breeds innovation. You’ll want to consider skills and competencies that would complement your team. Sometimes a different perspective can challenge a stagnant group to grow and learn.
Consider tools like Textio which analyzes text for how well words and phrases perform in a job description. Textio hopes to make your postings sincere, thoughtful, honest and unique. It also helps you state that you’re open to all groups, that you value variation in thought, background, class, race, gender, sexual orientation, experience and education.
4. Reach out to your Marketing or PR team
If you have one, then they will be a good resource to tap into. They can help in two ways: 1) They can help you write an attention grabbing first paragraph (if you are lucky they can edit your whole job description to make it “sexy”); and 2) They can provide you with materials to help pitch your company to potential candidates. You’re doing this because you need to provide context about your business or your industry in a fun, exciting and compelling way. One idea is to add a link to a relevant article or press release on the job description itself.
5. Use SEO tactics
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines. This is where you can use the keywords and titles you listed back in #1 so you can gain more visibility with your target audience.
I must admit, that this is a bit next level and an optional step for now but if you know that you have multiple openings throughout the year it might make sense to invest in learning how you can apply SEO to your hiring strategy. You could, for example, consider creating evergreen job descriptions which you can A/B test. Recruiting Blogs has a quick read on SEO recruitment for dummies which will give you a good idea of this concept.
By now you may be thinking why you need to go through all this effort especially since you are providing someone with a job? Well, the cold hard fact is that it’s a candidate driven market out there. So creating a well-written job description can differentiate you from all the other companies that are looking for the same type of talent. More importantly, you will inspire qualified candidates to apply now or at least consider applying to your company in the future because of your thoughtful approach.
If you have any savvy tips that have worked for you or your company, I would love to hear them. Please leave a comment below.