We need to talk.
Look, I know that the jobs you’re recruiting for aren’t always glamorous.
But for your sake…PLEASE stop writing boring job descriptions.
And if you’re handed a boring job description from a TA leader or hiring manager, please do yourself a favor and spruce it up.
If you’re reading this, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Go on Indeed or LinkedIn and view opportunities and there are more bland, uninspired job descriptions than you can wave a stick at.
They tell you they’re looking for someone “detail-oriented” and who’s a “highly-motived self-starter.” Everyone uses the same vague, cookie-cutter language about what they want from a candidate.
It’s a recipe for being ignored by your ideal candidates.
And even worse, most job descriptions don’t even give you a reason to be interested in the position!
If you have a shortage of qualified, quality candidates – like every other company right now – then you need to circle back to your job descriptions for a rewrite.
But how do you make sure a job description actually catches candidates’ attention and motivates them to apply?
Let’s dig in a little further.
Delete, Delete, Delete
The #1 easiest way to improve a job description is by smashing the backspace key.
99.9% of job descriptions are too freaking long.
They’re long-winded lists of responsibilities, “requirements,” and hiring manager “wish lists.”
Hiring leaders think they’re doing themselves a favor by writing exhaustive JDs.
In reality, they’re only making sure nobody reads it.
You’ll get applications from crappy candidates who read half before they started applying.
And you’ll LOSE great candidates who decided they didn’t have time and walked away.
Try to boil your JD down to what you REALLY need in a candidate…and delete anything that should be a given.
You want to focus on the skills, experiences, and so forth that are absolutely necessary to ensure someone can deliver in a role. Then delete the rest.
You should also delete anything that’s vague and overgeneralized.
For example, I often see the phrase “professional attitude” under requirements.
But what does that even mean? It’s very vague. It tells you nothing.
If you meant that the candidates should be nice to their coworkers, isn’t that a given? Did you really need to spell that out?
You’re wasting the candidate’s time spelling out a “requirement” that should be obvious to anyone remotely qualified for the job.
Focus on specific essentials of your candidate profile and delete the rest.
But don’t forget to PITCH the opportunity as well…
Pitch More Than Perks and a Salary
The biggest missed opportunity in JDs is there’s no reason for candidates to give a hoot.
The best candidates are not sitting at home twiddling their thumbs and browsing job ads.
They’re gainfully employed. And they know their skills are in demand.
In other words, they are very busy and very choosy about which opportunities they’ll take time to explore.
If you expect a busy person to take time out of their day to consider your role, you need to give them a very clear reason to be interested.
Salary and perks don’t count. Sure, it’s good to list them. But it’s not enough.
Any good candidate can get a great salary and solid perks anywhere they go.
What they’re REALLY looking for is something MORE out of their job. Something we all want deep down.
They want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
They want to work on something that matters and makes a real impact on the world.
And they want to work for a team that really supports their growth and development.
You have to identify how your company offers something MORE than a paycheck – and tie that into the job description.
Think like a marketer and create an emotional hook.
Give candidates an invitation to join a team doing something incredible, building the next big thing, or otherwise doing an important task that has an impact.
Give candidates a sense of your company’s purpose – and write about how this role ties into that.
Practice Makes Perfect
For many recruiters, writing job descriptions and thinking like a marketer does not come naturally.
Writing is not easy, but practice makes perfect.
You can spend time late in a search frantically calling candidates because everyone ignored your boring JD…
Or you can put in the elbow grease upfront to write, rewrite, and polish a job description that really speaks to your target candidates.
If you put in the effort, you’ll get better at writing descriptions, ads, emails, you name it. Better yet, you’ll have a WAY easier time finding the candidates you need.
If you want to learn more about how to write job ads that candidates can’t resist, check out our on-demand webinar on the subject!