The main goal for hiring managers when writing job descriptions is to generate high-quality candidates – attracting the type of jobseeker that would be a close fit, skill and culture-wise. As well as outlining all the desirable and essential requirements, it is important to pay attention to the tone and language used in your job listing while also importantly promoting your employer brand. You want to create an image that you are and should be considered an employer of choice.
With competition for top multilingual talent at an all-time high, your job ad must impress.
Here are our top tips:
1. Make the title count
There has been a growing trend for more catchy job titles. We’ve all seen buzzwords such as ‘guru’, ‘rockstar’ or ‘ninja’ used by companies in a bid to make their jobs sound more exciting. Though, this can often backfire as candidates will want to see evidence that this is the case. Furthermore, think about search engine keywords – is a jobseeker more likely to type in ‘sales manager’ or ‘sales superstar’? Make sure that the words used in your job title encapsulate the essence of the role.
2. Sell, don’t just tell
Job descriptions often run the risk of becoming a long list of desirables, often just being a series of bullet points. While breaking up the text to make it more readable is fine, the key point to remember is that you want to engage and make a connection with the reader. Make sure you use human language and use the second person singular ‘you’ to address the jobseeker. Don’t forget to describe the culture of the company and crucially, what you can offer and why they should work for you. For example, not allowing flexible working in today’s hybrid world is likely to be a deal-breaker.
3. Don’t turn people away
While a lot will depend on the nature of the role, the sector and the qualifications required, don’t make your job description so detailed that you’re going to put applicants off. State the non-negotiables but also allow some flexibility in terms of experience and background. For some roles, someone with the right attitude may be a far better investment than a person who is more experienced but lacks the required soft skills. Ask yourself, are all your pre-requisites really necessary?
4. Mind your ‘language’
Especially in today’s candidate short market where skill shortages reign supreme, make sure your ads appeal to a wider talent pool. Check that your wording isn’t ageist, or that there is an unconscious gender bias. Have you added too many male-gendered words such as ‘assertive’, ‘determined’ or ‘decisive’? If for example, you’re trying to increase the number of women in your organisation, make sure you’re making the culture appealing and ‘supportive’ for women. Have you covered diversity and inclusion to appeal to ethnic minority or neuro-diverse groups?
5. Streamline your process
Even with the perfect job ad, attracting the best candidates will also depend on the efficiency and speed of your hiring process. As for the process itself, make it as seamless as possible, so the candidate can easily upload their CV and cover letter. If you’re using screening questions, keep them to a minimum. Many candidates now apply from their smartphones, so your site needs to be mobile-optimised. Ensure that your email replies are also engaging and be sensitive to those who might be rejected. Have you mentioned the next steps and a contact number or email where they can reach you?
6. Include a video (or two)
One of the most effective ways to boost the number of applications of your job postings on job boards is to include video content. This might be a short message from your CEO describing the culture in a warm, welcoming way, short Q&As with staff from different departments or countries or clips of a team day out or annual awards ceremonies. The point is to demonstrate your company’s fun culture, giving prospective new starters an ‘insider’s’ view into your people and the environment. This can make a significant difference to the calibre of applications received.
7. Money does matter!
You should mention salary – why wouldn’t you? Including a range can show how far you’re prepared to go for the right candidate. Or you can give an approximate number and put ‘dependent on experience’ so it won’t deter someone who might be seeking more. Candidates will respect you for including salary as it shows honesty, a prized value in itself. Those who feel the salary isn’t right won’t apply and similarly, you won’t be interviewing anyone under any false premises. No time wasted.
Writing effective language job posts takes required thought. To attract quality applicants, your employer brand must shine through if you’re to make a connection with that next star hire.
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