5 Crucial Elements to Creating a Memorable Job Description
“Humans make relationships harder than they need to be. At our very core, we crave only three things:
- To feel safe
- To feel like we belong
- To feel like we matter
That’s it”, says Marissa Levin, Founder and CEO of Successful Culture.
My guess is that high-quality candidates aren’t flocking to your ads, yet you keep creating the very same kind of post.
Here’s the deal: you know how you read a resume in about 10 seconds or less? Candidates usually do the same with your job posting. That means you have to make an impact. Quickly.
“A job posting is a marketing advertisement designed to attract people; it’s not intended to be a barrier to entry.”
CEO of The Adler Group
No matter if you’re sourcing for active or passive candidates, the three things they crave remain the same: people want to feel safe, like they belong, and like they matter. This is extremely relevant in their job search. Which means drawing their eye, relating to their emotions, and being personable is the name of the game. Recruiting is no longer about finding a candidate with the simple skill set, experience, and education that a job requires. It’s about finding the best culture fit. So, I got news for you: it’s not about you. It’s about them. Candidates want value. They want a vibrant company culture. They want to know why this job matters and how they can affect the company as a whole and possibly make a dent in the universe. They want to feel like they belong. They want to make an impact. They want to learn what the job offers them.
So, how in the world do you craft a job profile that captures everything candidates want and everything they crave? When a high-quality candidate comes across a job description, here are his/her first thoughts:
- Who is this company? How are they unique?
- Why does this role matter to the entirety of the company?
- What does a day in the life of this position look like?
- Can they relate to who I am and what drives me?
- What can they offer me?
- According to a study by The Journal of Business and Psychology on job descriptions, describing what the employer can provide for its employees rather than what the employer needs from the applicant increases the number of applicants who apply and improves the quality of those applicants.
- The Head of Talent Acquisition at Philips, Ross Schramm, says the company strives to show job applicants the bigger opportunities that are available at the company, such as making a difference in the world.
- The Proactive Talent Strategies Blog reminds us, “Get as specific as you can about who you are, your company culture and the types of people who will be successful there. Candidates will self-select based on the content you share. And by giving them an opportunity to screen themselves in or out, this ultimately lowers the amount of unqualified candidates coming in and increases the quality of candidates that do apply to your company.”
It’s your job as the recruiter or employer to answer those questions and implement the insight above proactively in your job descriptions. Your goal is to attract high-quality, engaged candidates, right? This doesn’t happen by including a long list of qualifications and requirements, including detailed information about a company’s product/service, or including a cumbersome application process. You wouldn’t be intrigued by that kind of job, would you? You have to put yourself in the candidate’s shoes.
Just as Lou Adler, CEO of The Adler Group, reminds us, “A job posting is a marketing advertisement designed to attract people; it’s not intended to be a barrier to entry.”
Here are 5 crucial elements to creating a memorable job description:
Understand your audience. This is where you have to think like a marketer. Envision your ideal candidate. Research them, find out what drives them, what language they relate to, what goals they have, what actions they want to take, etc. Now craft a captivating first sentence based on this knowledge. Imagine that you’re talking specifically to this one person. Relate to them. Be engaging. Grab their attention with words that will stir their emotions.
Lou Adler says, “When writing job postings and emails, capture the magic in the job by emphasizing what the person will be learning and doing and what he or she could become if successful.”
Create the big picture. Hit on what qualities you’re looking for — not just skills. Candidates will feel like you understand them and that will make them appreciate you in a deeper way.
Show how you’re different
Embody the company’s personality and culture in your job post. This is your time to be unique — make your template enticing and attractive. Design it to reflect who the company is. Use a relaxed and relatable tone. Use eye-grabbing colors and fonts. Consider including a short video or picture of your team. Anything you can do to stand out will make all the difference. They’ll begin to envision your workplace and understand your culture before they even step foot inside the building.
Simple is always better. Use bullet points. Create some white space — too much copy will get them off track. Include Need to haves and Good to haves instead of a grocery list of requirements. Be clear on what you want, but make it simple and understood.
You have to keep them engaged and interested. You’ll lose them entirely if what they’re looking at is just a checklist.
Focus on them, not you
They will be thinking of themselves when they read the job description. Not you. Keep the attention on them — their qualities, their capabilities, their goals. Allow them to envision themselves at this job and create a picture of what they could become. You can talk about the company, product, or service in the interview.
Try describing a day in the life of this position. You may need to get input from the hiring manager, but it will be worth it. Let them know what their day-to-day life would look like. This allows them to envision themselves in this role and decide if it’s a right fit or not — relieving you of that step later on in the process.
According to the Harris Interactive Survey for Glassdoor, more than two-thirds (67%) of employers believe retention rates would be higher if candidates had a clearer picture of what to expect about working at the company before taking the job.
Remember, there’s a human on the other side of this job posting. Pretend you’re talking to them face-to-face. You’re not going to be void of any personality, are you? No. You’re going to be relatable, friendly, and expressive. Convey that in your copy.
Include a photo of yourself and maybe a short bio. Candidates want to know they’re talking to a real person on the other side of this job posting, as well. Make them believe it. You’re creating a conversation, not trying to intimidate them.
Try creating a unique CTA. Rather than ‘Apply’, how about, ‘Start the conversation’. Be intriguing. Anything to make you stick out from the rest can be a game-changer.
Think of a company like Apple. They focus on hiring a very specific kind of person who beams with these 5 different qualities. They know what they want and because of their recruiting practices and determined devotion to finding these characteristics, they have created a multi-billion dollar company filled with amazing people. If they were careless and ineffective in attracting the right people, Apple wouldn’t be where it is today. They were confident in what they wanted and portrayed that clearly to candidates. This created an overflow of engaged, high-quality people for the job that would fit into their culture.
Job postings are the catalyst to filling a req. Finding a high-caliber candidate who fits the role is your goal, but you have to do what it takes to find what you’re looking for. You have to go the extra mile. Candidates won’t flock to you if you don’t invest in understanding who they are and what they need. Posting a high-quality job description that includes the five elements above will earn you high-quality applicants. Posting a poorly written and low-quality job description that lacks empathy and personality will earn you low-quality applicants.
Think about how much you’ve spent on job ads in the past year. Now, think about how many dollars have been wasted trying to get candidates to see your job descriptions and then losing them entirely.
Be intentional. Take the time to learn who your ideal candidate is and craft a message dedicated to sparking a conversation with them. You’ll be thanking yourself later. And so will they.