Content content content.
You’ve probably heard a marketeer somewhere along the line tell you just how important the right content strategy can be for a company. It can set your company voice, drive organic traffic and even become a viral moment for your brand if played correctly.
It’s time we also started looking at job descriptions as a piece of content that deserves the same (if not more attention). As important as content is to your brand, a job description is to your employer brand. As important as content is to your overall marketing effort, a job description is to your recruitment marketing effort.
To quote Justin Cerilli, MD at an executive search firm Russell Reynolds and Associates, "the best job descriptions combine a little bit of marketing, the reality of the role, the necessary skills and competencies and the organization's culture. All those things put together are key to how to present an open role to the market."
In this post, we’ll run through some of the main DOS and DONTS when crafting your next job description.
1) Clear Job Title
This may sound completely obvious, but so many employers try to make their job descriptions sensational or gimmicky to attract candidates. It’s understandable that maybe you want to promote a fun work culture and have your writing style reflect that, but candidates should still know exactly what type of role they’re applying for. On the recruiter end, you also want to know that your talent pool is as relevant as possible.
Job site Indeed has agreed on this idea, saying that “most people search for roles that match their skills and experience, and so, using terms like ‘ninja’ and ‘rockstar’ in job titles and descriptions can confuse job seekers and put them off from applying”
2) Initial Hook
Jab jab jab hook!
A hook is a one- to four-sentence overview should include a description of the job’s major function, how it contributes to larger company objectives and why it’s important not just to the company, but to society as a whole.
Make your candidate understand ‘why’ your company makes sense for them, for the world and for their application.
3) Speak directly
This is closely tied to your hook sentences, but make sure you are clear from the start of your job description what the role will involve. Take a look at the two examples below: the first option is flowery and vague, the second is direct and concise. Whilst some candidates may prefer the first option, generally it’s advised to be clear with job requirements.
Listing off key tasks is a good way to be direct and set expectations from the beginning of your job description.
In their analysis, Indeed also mentioned “we’ve found that job descriptions between 700 and 2,000 characters get up to 30% more applications”. It pays dividends to be direct as your funnel will be more clearly filled with people who understand the basics of the role.
A great example of direct job descriptions would be Toggl, who brilliantly balance employer branding with a clear content voice.
4) Highlight daily tasks
This may also sound obvious, but many job descriptions neglect to list off the key tasks that you could expect to be doing on a daily basis. This doesn’t mean list very vague high level concepts, but rather what a typical day on the job might involve.
Revolut has a very direct content voice across all its channels, and it’s job descriptions reflect that. This product owner role for their Business division is a great example of a good structure, with an effective hook, clear tasks and requirements.
5) Promote company culture & perks
Lastly, employer branding needs to be an integral part of every job description you write. Infuse each post with the values that make your company an amazing place to work. Google is a classic example of an employer renowned for its culture, and check out the video below to see just why.
But be careful! As argued in this CIO article you should make sure that your culture doesn’t kill diversity. Finding the right approach to employer branding is something that hiring managers should discuss with company management, and infuse this down throughout every job description.
This should be fundamental to any employer’s approach to hiring. Ensure your language, tone and hiring process suit the needs of any potential candidates. This should not even need to be spelled out in the modern day climate.
2) Set unrealistic requirements
Try not to be overly superlative in your wording choices. You should also avoid using language that describes a singular focus on a narrow set of abilities, for instance, “perfectionists” or those who are “forever tinkering.” Again, you risk turning off highly qualified talent that could excel in the role without these traits, or that doesn’t self-identify with these terms
3) Be negative in tone
Focus on the growth potential a candidate could unlock by working at your company. Try to avoid negative statements or connotations at all costs.
4) Forget structure
Last but not least, make it easy for a great candidate to read and apply to your role. Choose the right platform to handle applications, format your text well and make information concise where possible.