Write Effective Job Descriptions That Bring in Top Candidates

Talent Acquisition

How to Write Effective Job Descriptions That Bring in Top Candidates

Great job descriptions attract talented candidates to your company. The opposite, unfortunately, is also true: job postings with rambling boilerplate text generate little interest.

As more businesses struggle to fill open roles quickly, job descriptions are essential for attracting the right attention, setting the tone with potential new hires, and ensuring that each party knows what is expected of them throughout the course of their employment.

Recruitment teams know what type of employee they’re looking for. Using that information to craft an informative and effective job description can help organizations find the best fit for the position. Here are some tips that can help you find the best talent for your company amid a pool of qualified candidates.

Why Well-Written Job Descriptions Are Essential for Hiring Top Talent

1. The Job Description Might Be the First Touch Point

When a company opens a role, it expects candidates to research the company and learn about them before applying for the job. However, a poorly written job description can discourage a candidate from beginning their research. A job description essentially acts as an introduction to the company for the candidate, especially for smaller companies without widespread brand recognition.

68% of job seekers agree that their candidate experience impacts their final acceptance on the position offered by the company.

Even if the candidate decides to apply for the job, a poor job description can often be an indicator of a company’s inability to provide its candidates with a positive experience during recruitment. As a result, many candidates (68%) might choose not to accept the position even if they are offered the job.

2. An Effective Job Description Should Help Set Expectations Early

Businesses invest significant resources in their recruitment processes and are always looking for new ways to optimize these processes. If a business is unable to do so, it risks increasing recruitment costs, lowering productivity, and raising employee turnover rates.

An effective job description can reduce the chances of that happening by setting expectations with potential candidates early in the recruitment process. Employers can state their requirements and preferences outright and candidates that have different expectations from their future employers can choose not to apply for the role.

3. Better Job Descriptions Are More Likely to Attract Relevant Candidates

Job descriptions are often more than just a list of requirements that a business might have and information that a candidate might need before deciding to apply for a position. It can also reveal the culture of a company and can provide essential information about what a business prioritizes.

The language used in job descriptions is as important as the information that is being shared and is equally likely to impact a candidate’s decision to apply for the position or accept an offer when it is extended to them.

4. A Good Job Description Helps Businesses Limit Risk

While there are no specific laws or regulations that refer to job descriptions, a poorly written one can get a business into hot water. There are numerous laws regarding hiring discrimination, gender pay differences, and job functions that are non-essential but might disqualify certain applicants from being considered for the position.

Job descriptions have to be crafted well and with consideration for these regulations to maintain legal compliance throughout the hiring process.

How to Write Effective Job Descriptions to Attract Top Talent

1. Use Performance or Qualification-Based Descriptions

There are two ways recruiters can craft a job description: they can focus on skills or performance. Skills-based job descriptions are focused on traditional qualifications that are linked to the capabilities a company wants to obtain. This can include a particular degree, certification, or character trait. However, this can sometimes limit organizations to a typical candidate profile.

Impact-based descriptions, also known as performance-based descriptions, instead choose to focus on the results a candidate has delivered in the past. This acts as proof of the candidate’s ability to help their employer meet organizational goals regardless of their formal qualifications.

2. Keep It Concise and Informative

Recruiters can be tempted to provide all the information they have about a given role in the job posting but this can lead to long and cluttered descriptions. Shorter and more concise job descriptions can help recruiters choose points that need to be highlighted early in the recruitment process. Candidates are also more likely to identify the skills, qualifications, and experience needed for the role quickly.

3. Focus on Growth and Development

Modern employees demand that their employers actively contribute to their personal and professional growth. As competition increases, companies need to be more proactive in explaining what they can offer to candidates from the get-go. Apart from creating a more enticing job description, a strong focus on growth and development can help companies position themselves as employers of choice.

4. Avoid Clichés and Buzzwords

Recent research has indicated that almost a quarter of candidates are skeptical about the promises companies make about job expectations, benefits, perks, and culture. A major reason for this is the excessive use of buzzwords that lose meaning the more they are used.

24% of candidates are skeptical of promises companies make about job expectations, benefits, perks, and culture.

A job description that is honest and direct with potential hires can encourage them to come in for an interview or tour where they can personally experience the culture and benefits that a company can offer them.

5. Explain Every Part of the Job Clearly

Applicants tend to view multiple offers and job descriptions before they shortlist potential roles to apply for. Recruiters and candidates can both benefit from optimizing this process as much as possible. Job descriptions that clearly explain every part of the job can help businesses weed out candidates with skills that don’t align with the needs of the position.

The race for talent is not expected to slow down any time soon. Job descriptions are essential arrows in a recruiter’s quiver. Well-crafted job descriptions can help companies find the most qualified candidates that can help them reach their goals more effectively.


Guest Author Bio

Dean Mathews is the founder and CEO of OnTheClock, an employee time tracking app that helps more than 15,000 companies all around the world track time.

Dean has over 20 years of experience designing and developing business apps. He views software development as a form of art. If the artist creates a masterpiece, many people’s lives are touched and changed for the better.

When he is not perfecting time tracking, Dean enjoys expanding his faith, spending time with family and friends, and finding ways to make the world just a little better.