Over a decade ago, I was a full-time job seeker. I had bookmarked websites like Indeed and Monster. Part of my daily ritual became checking those job boards. I painstakingly read through hundreds of job descriptions, all saying a lot of the same things. I began to loathe any job description that took me more than a few scrolls to get through, or that went on and on with job duties.
From my experience, I came to the conclusion that hiring professionals need to see job descriptions as part of a company's marketing strategy. They may not be working to attract customers for sales, but they are working to attract top talent to make those sales happen. I've also done the hiring process and know interviews are lengthy and time-consuming. Why waste time with mediocre candidates when you could attract the best fit for the job?
Here are three areas I've come up with that hiring professionals should consider when they create a job posting:
1. Don't say "We've always [said] it that way."
Whether a position has a short life cycle or had the same person in it for the last 25 years, doesn't mean you should use the same content. Just like you're company's website needs to be up to date, you need to keep your job descriptions fresh as well. You don't want to ward off quality candidates with bad or plainly outdated content; make sure you review before posting it. If you have a marketing person or department, have them take a look as well - after all, part of what you're doing is marketing to potential employees!
2. Short with Clarity
The one phrase that has always turned me away in a job description usually says "All other duties assigned". To me, this means a company doesn't have a clear idea of what my job will be and I could get stuck with work that I'm not completely qualified for or, frankly, shouldn’t be part of my job. Don't leave a job description up in the air - it's just like when a marketing piece is vague in what it’s asking. Try to be as clear as possible so that you don't have a disgruntled employee later on.
With clarity, I mean getting to the point. While details are good, going on and on can be redundant or annoying. For example, if someone is a college graduate, I’d hope they know how to use Microsoft Word. Grab the writer from your marketing department (or hire one - yes, there are copywriters for resumes!) to see if they can't write it in fewer words to say the same thing. Put the most relevant and needed features towards the top of your list!
3. Lists - Rule of Three
This has always been my favorite rule when I write (as you can tell by this post). The Rule of Three makes content easier for the reader, and they're more likely to read it all. Wikipedia says using the Rule of Three results in content that is "inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective". Having 10 or more bullet points can be a bit excessive. If you can't say it in three, shoot for no more than nine. Make sure you're not just repeating part of another bullet or have content that could be in the same bullet. Try breaking up your content to flow better and make it easier to skim (because you know all job seekers do it!). Put the most important information you want them to see towards the top, too.
So get a little creative if you’re hiring new employees. Job descriptions don't have to be mundane, especially depending on the personality of the company. Make it a team effort if you don't think you've got the creative mojo. If you have a writer in-house, recruit them to help. Otherwise, look to hiring a freelancer to help you attract top talent and make your job search easier! It might be an extra cost, but if you do the math and realize the time you save by attracting the right candidates, it’s definitely worth it.
Thoughts from Me
Tips, advice, and more from my experience as a copywriter, marketer, and small business owner.