Companies spend a lot of money trying to get job seekers to their open positions. Unfortunately, regardless of what you spend generating greater traffic, if your job descriptions are poorly written then you’re not going to see the conversions you're hoping for. After all, at the end of the day successful job posts start with content, not budgets.
To better understand this point, put yourself in the shoes of the job seeker. As a candidate, job descriptions are your first point of contact with a potential employer. They give you an idea of what the job is, what its responsibilities are, and what the culture of company is like.
Now consider this: 2015 saw the most job openings in the United States since 2007, with more than 5 million jobs opening up in February of last year alone. This means that candidates are seeing the most job postings they’ve seen in the last eight years as well. In order to be successful, and see high conversion rates, companies will need to stop looking at job descriptions as a requirement that is painfully fulfilled, and start looking at it as an opportunity to stand out amongst their competition.
Since a well written job description is what turns an interested candidate into a committed one, let’s look at some best practices that should be include in every job description:
- Clear headlines: The reason I say headline instead of title is because you’re not simply labeling your job description, you’re also trying to spark interest. With that said, avoid using ridiculous terms in your job description headline such as “guru” or “ninja”. Remember, job seekers aren’t searching for a job as a “social media guru,” they’re searching for a social media manager’s position. Make your headlines clear and accurate, and wow them with your content once they’re in.
- Enticing lead: Your lead can guarantee an apply, or completely kill your chances of receiving one. This is where conversions are made. Unfortunately, a solid majority of job descriptions lead with a sentence like this: “[insert company name] is seeking an experienced [insert position] to lead their [insert department] initiatives.
If your job description sounds anything like that, then you’ve already lost. Rather, job descriptions should be written like marketing and sales material, with the hope of enticing the reader right from the start.
For instance, if you want to hire a new member for your marketing department, it could help to explain the culture of your marketing department first, in order to pique interests. With that in mind, your job description could look something like this: “Our marketing department is a tight knit group of hard working, highly talkative and highly caffeinated creatives. Our ideal candidate …”
With this lead, you’ve given a bit of your company culture and style, in exchange for the job seeker’s attention. By the time they’ve gotten into the second sentence describing the type of individual you’re looking for, candidates are already picturing themselves working at your company. This will keep them reading.
- Carefully crafted responsibilities: Listing the duties of the position you’re advertising can be boring and difficult. You’ll want to be specific, so a candidate knows what to expect on day one, but getting too detailed will eliminate flexibility from the position. Write them too generalized, and the candidate could feel overwhelmed, confused, or just flat out turned off. The best course of action, then, is to write job responsibilities with generalized detail, but provide specifics into how this job function effects the company. Doing so will provide candidates with the flexibility that implies the position has room for growth, and giving detail on how the position effects the company will give candidates a sense of purpose. Be creative where possible, but remember: The responsibilities section of a job description is the meat and potatoes, and should be taken the most seriously.
- Don’t forget company culture: With the economy on the upswing, more jobs means greater options for job seekers. That means your company culture, and how you present that in a job description, is more important than ever.
Let’s face it, we spend more time at work than we do with our family or friends. Therefore, the workplace environment is of paramount importance to job seekers. While traditionally company culture might be something discussed in an interview, industry leaders are being proactive and providing the details to potential employees before they even apply.
Your job description should cover a few key details of your company culture including, but not limited to: what the work space is like, how many employees currently work at the company and any plans for growth or expansion, perks such as the types of equipment an employee could expect to work with (new Mac computers) or free food/services that are counted as benefits. And, above all else, remember to promote the friendly and interesting coworkers that this candidate can look forward to working with.
In the 21st century, the workplace has changed dramatically, and therefore well written job descriptions must reflect this transition. To be successful in talent acquisition, you’ll need more than just traffic, you’ll need content if you want to convert.
Posted by Sal Trifilio
Sal Trifilo is no longer with Recruitics, but brought value as a thought leader in the recruitment industry.