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Creating Compelling Job Descriptions that Speak to the Right Candidates

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Will Rogers has said it right!
In the competitive world of talent acquisition, the first impression a potential candidate has of your company often comes from your job description. This initial touchpoint can either attract the right talent or deter them, making it a crucial element in your recruitment strategy.

However, here’s the bad news: 99% of job descriptions out there are painfully long and boring. They fail to capture the essence of the role or the company, leaving potential candidates unimpressed and uninterested.

But here’s the good news: this presents an enormous opportunity for your company to stand out. By investing time and effort into crafting compelling job descriptions, you can strengthen your employer brand, inspire the right candidates to take action, and ultimately, secure top talent for your organization.

In this article, we’ll discuss the art of creating job descriptions that not only provide necessary information but also speak directly to your ideal candidates, compelling them to hit that ‘apply’ button. So, let’s get started!

Factors to Consider to Write Perfect Job Descriptions

Understand Your Target Candidate

Before you start writing a job description (JD), it’s crucial to understand who your target candidate is. This involves more than just knowing the skills and qualifications required for the role. It’s about understanding their motivations, their career aspirations, and what they value in a job.

Creating a target candidate persona can be a useful strategy here. This persona, based on your ideal candidate, should include demographic information, career background, skills and qualifications, and personal attributes. But more importantly, it should focus on their career goals, their values, and what they look for in a job and a company.

Once you have a clear picture of your target candidate, you can write a job description that speaks directly to them. This involves making potent promises that resonate with your ideal candidate. For instance, if your target candidate values career growth, highlight opportunities for advancement and learning within the role and the company. If they value work-life balance, emphasize your company’s flexible work policies.

Remember, a job description is not just a list of duties and requirements. It’s a tool to communicate with your potential candidates, to tell them why this role is perfect for them, and to convince them that your company is where they want to be. Understanding your target candidate is the first step in writing such a job description.

Optimize the Job Title with Keywords

In the digital age, search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t just for marketers. It’s a crucial tool for recruiters as well. Just as consumers use keywords to find products or services online, job seekers use them to find job postings that match their skills and interests. This is why optimizing your job title with keywords is an essential step in writing a job description that reaches the ideal candidate.

The job title is often the first thing a potential candidate sees, and it can significantly impact whether they click on your job posting or scroll past it. To make your job title as effective as possible, it should be clear, concise, and include keywords that job seekers are likely to use.

Avoid jargon or internal terminology that might be unfamiliar to job seekers. Instead, use recognizable job titles that accurately reflect the role. For instance, instead of using a title like “Customer Success Ninja,” use a more standard title like “Customer Service Representative.” This not only makes your job posting more searchable but also ensures that potential candidates have a clear understanding of the role.

Remember, the goal is to attract candidates who are a good fit for the role. By using a keyword-friendly, recognizable job title, you increase the chances of your job posting appearing in relevant job searches, thereby attracting the right candidates.

Adding a Company Summary to the JD

A company summary in a job description serves as a brief introduction to your organization. It provides context for the role and gives potential candidates a glimpse into your company’s mission, culture, and values. However, the key to a compelling company summary is to keep it concise and relevant to the job seeker.

While it might be tempting to delve into the history of your company or list all your achievements, remember that job seekers can find detailed information about your company elsewhere, like your website or LinkedIn Company Page. Instead, use the company summary to highlight aspects of your company that would be most appealing to your target candidate.

For instance, if your company is a startup, you might highlight the opportunity for candidates to wear multiple hats and have a significant impact. If your company is well-established, you might emphasize the stability and resources available for personal and professional growth.

Consider moving the company summary to a less prominent position in your job posting, and instead, use the prime real estate at the top to speak directly to your target candidates and sell them on the opportunity. Remember, the goal is to resonate with the ideal candidate and make them feel that your company is the right fit for them.

Describe the Benefits of Job One of the most effective ways to attract the right candidates is to clearly outline the benefits of the job. This goes beyond just listing the perks and compensation. It’s about helping candidates envision the impact of their work and the value they would add to the company.

Start the job description with a concise, engaging overview of the role. Highlight the key responsibilities and the impact the role has on the company’s mission or goals. This not only gives candidates a clear understanding of what the job entails but also helps them see the significance of the role.

For instance, instead of simply stating that a Social Media Manager will be responsible for managing the company’s social media accounts, you could say, “As our Social Media Manager, you’ll play a pivotal role in shaping our brand’s voice and engagement on various platforms, reaching thousands of customers and driving our mission forward.”

Remember, top candidates are not just looking for a job; they’re looking for an opportunity where they can make a difference. By showcasing the value and impact of the role, you can inspire these candidates to take action and apply.

Summarize the Benefits Package

A comprehensive benefits package can be a significant deciding factor for potential candidates. Therefore, it’s crucial to summarize the benefits package in your job description. However, it’s not just about listing the benefits; it’s about doing so in a way that resonates with your target candidates.

Transparency is key when it comes to discussing benefits. Be clear about what your company offers in terms of compensation, health benefits, retirement plans, vacation time, and any unique perks like remote work options or professional development opportunities. If possible, use specific figures or details. For instance, instead of saying “competitive salary,” you could say “competitive salary above industry average.”

But it’s not just about the tangible benefits. Intangible benefits like a positive work culture, opportunities for growth, and work-life balance can be just as attractive to potential candidates. Highlight these aspects to give candidates a holistic view of what it’s like to work at your company.

Remember, benefits can be a significant investment for your company. By effectively summarizing the benefits package in your job description, you can ensure that this investment is clearly communicated and appreciated by potential candidates.

Keep the Job’s Requirements Clear and Realistic

The requirements section of a job description is where you outline the necessary skills, qualifications, and experiences a candidate needs to be successful in the role. While it’s important to be thorough, it’s equally important to keep the job’s requirements clear and realistic. According to HR Drive, just over a third of job seekers – 36% to be exact – feel that job descriptions are clear.

A long list of requirements can deter potential candidates, especially if they feel they don’t meet every single one. Research shows that candidates, particularly women, are less likely to apply for a job if they don’t meet 100% of the requirements. Therefore, it’s crucial to distinguish between the “must-have” qualifications and the “nice-to-have” ones. According to JobVite, almost half of the new employees who quit their jobs do so because the work they end up doing is different from what was described to them during the hiring process. In fact, 43% of people who leave their jobs within the first three months do so for this reason. This shows the importance of clear and accurate job descriptions.

Use clear, straightforward language to describe the requirements. Avoid using jargon or complex terms that might confuse job seekers. Instead, use common industry terms that are easily understood.

Also, consider the order in which you present the requirements. Sandwiching the requirements section between two sections that highlight promise and opportunity can make it more digestible and less intimidating.

Remember, the goal of the requirements section is not to filter out as many candidates as possible, but to attract candidates who are a good fit for the role. By keeping the job’s requirements clear and realistic, you can ensure that the right candidates feel encouraged to apply.

Use Strong Verbs to Describe the Job’s Responsibilities

The responsibilities section of a job description is where you outline what the job entails on a day-to-day basis. This section is crucial as it helps potential candidates envision themselves in the role. To make this section as effective as possible, it’s important to use strong, action-oriented verbs to describe each responsibility.

Start each bullet point with a unique, fitting verb that accurately describes the action the role requires. For instance, instead of using a generic verb like “handle” to describe a project manager’s duties, use more specific verbs like “coordinate,” “oversee,” or “execute.”

Using strong verbs not only makes your job description more engaging but also helps potential candidates understand exactly what is expected of them. It gives them a clear picture of what a typical day in the role might look like, helping them decide if the role aligns with their skills and career goals.

For example, instead of saying, “Be responsible for client communication,” you could say, “Forge strong relationships with clients through regular, proactive communication.”

Remember, your goal is to generate excitement and promise in a passionate candidate. By using strong, descriptive verbs, you can create a vivid picture of the role that resonates with your ideal candidate.

Remove Bias from Your Job Description

Inclusivity is a crucial aspect of any recruitment strategy. To attract a diverse pool of candidates, it’s important to ensure that your job description is free from any form of bias, be it gender, age, race, or disability. A study revealed an interesting trend – when job descriptions contained words typically associated with masculinity, women tended to show less interest in those jobs. Interestingly, this didn’t make them feel any less capable or qualified for the role.

So, it is a good idea to avoid using jargon, gendered language, culturally-specific expressions, or insider language that could potentially alienate some candidates. For instance, using terms like “rockstar” or “ninja” can imply a gender bias and deter qualified candidates who don’t identify with these terms.

Instead, use neutral language that is welcoming to all potential candidates. For example, instead of saying “We’re looking for a sales guy,” say “We’re looking for a sales professional.”

Also, consider the implications of the requirements you list. For example, requiring a university degree for a role that can be performed with the right experience can exclude qualified candidates who might not have had the opportunity for higher education.

Remember, a diverse workforce can bring a variety of perspectives and ideas to your company, fostering innovation and growth. By crafting a bias-free job description, you can ensure that your job ad appeals to a wide range of candidates, promoting diversity and inclusivity in your company.

Wrap Up 

Writing a compelling job description is both an art and a science. It requires a deep understanding of your target candidate, a strategic use of language, and a clear, engaging presentation of the role and your company. But more than anything, it requires a focus on the candidate’s perspective, needs, and aspirations.

Remember that the strategies discussed in this article are not one-size-fits-all solutions. They should be adapted to suit your company’s unique needs and culture. Experiment with different formats, lengths, and wording to find what works best for your company and the roles you’re hiring for.

Now, it’s time to put these strategies into action. Start crafting compelling job descriptions that speak to the right candidates, and watch as your recruitment process transforms for the better. You can try HireME’s AI JD generator to do the job for you. Good luck!






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