Depending on the way in which they are written, job descriptions either excite or terrify a candidate, thereby making or breaking the entire sourcing project. This phenomenon has caused many hiring managers to seek the perfect formula, the magic blueprint for determining a foolproof job description.
While the perfect job description simply doesn’t exist, there are a few ways in which hiring managers can improve their dusty old paragraphs, turning them into attention-grabbers for potential candidates.
A hiring manager can’t have everything he/she wants in an employee. Furthermore, it is his/her job to write a job description in which the requirements are both possible and reasonable so that applicants are not too terrified to apply. The Creative Group, a Robert Half Company, states, “Don’t scare off a potential top candidate by overdoing the ‘must-haves.’ A laundry list of duties gives little insight into what is most important, and it can make good people shy away” (“5 Tips on the Art of Writing Job Descriptions”). The hiring manager must form a list of everything he/she desires for the candidate, rank them by number, and include only the most important ones in the job description. The rest must be set aside as “like-to-haves.”
As Josh Tolan pointed out in the Huffington Post’s “Want More Talent? You Need Better Job Descriptions,” a 2015 Pew Research Center study found that over a quarter of adults “have used a smartphone to look up information about a new job.” The implications of this are simple: if a job description/application is not mobile friendly, it is likely to be scrolled over. In order to reach this portion of the population, hiring managers must catch up with the times. Some of the best talent could be scrolling past their job description simply because they refuse to acknowledge changing technology.
Reading through job descriptions might cause the brightest professional to wearily hold one’s head in one’s hands and consider giving up. The goal of the hiring manager is to create a job description that stands out and causes the applicant to say “I want to work THERE.” As the Creative Group so eloquently put it, “…[Y]ou also should give applicants a sense of your company’s culture (read: fun side). The right position at the wrong company can make a new hire walk right back out the door…” (“5 Tips on the Art of Writing Job Descriptions”). Remember, it is about appealing to the applicant on the most basic level.
Including an “About Us” section in the job description, as suggested by The Magnet’s “7 Steps to Providing the Best Job Descriptions,” is actually quite common among large organizations. As the article points out, it often begins with a mission statement that gives candidates a feel for what the organization stands for. Any employee simply wants to feel that they are a part of something larger than themselves; providing this emotion within the job description is the surest way to grab the candidate’s attention and let him/her know what the business values most.
How will you improve your job descriptions and gain the attention of top talent today?