Tips for Writing Job Descriptions

Last week, we discussed the importance of candidate retention in these post-pandemic times. People are valuing different aspects of their working lives and employers are forced to keep up. Keeping promises and offering specific benefits will keep your candidates around, but how do grab their attention right off the bat? 

Most importantly: writing enticing job descriptions. This is the first glimpse into your company a candidate sees. The “Great Reshuffle,” which has working adults rethinking the way they work due to the pandemic, must now be taken into consideration when writing job descriptions. Different key points and language now need to be emphasized in order to make your open role and company as attractive as possible.  

To help you out, we’ve outlined some tips to sharpen your job descriptions and get job seekers interested! 

Use “you” terminology. 

Curate your job description to be more about the candidate, rather than the company. For example, LinkedIn explains that you’ll be a great fit if… holds stronger weight than the ideal candidate will…” because “at the end of the day, they want to know what’s in it for them.” This language feels more personal; people are more apt to stay engaged when they feel they are directly appreciated.  

Adapt your openers. 

LinkedIn also highlights the importance of a stand-out opener. “We know that the information at the beginning of job descriptions carries more weight in the minds of candidates. They pay attention to and remember the start more than other sections. We also know that they decide in about 14 seconds whether to keep reading,” they say. Openers should be brief, yet fun and informative enough to keep them reading. Emphasize why candidates should work for your company and the attractiveness of the open role. 

Pay attention to the job title. 

People take job titles very seriously; some will ignore an entire job posting based on the title alone. They may immediately assume they do or do not qualify for a position. Additionally, based on which industry they’re in, titles can be interpreted in several ways. For instance, “analyst” or “associate” positions can vary by industry. 

To avoid confusion, datapeople suggests using clear, searchable keywords in these titles.  Avoiding the “title creep” is advisable as well. They say, “Regardless of how junior or senior the requirements appear, candidates may not apply because they don’t see themselves as ‘senior.’ Titles that seem inflated or don’t match the requirements you list may intimidate or confuse candidates. Keep it simple when it comes to seniority.” 

Be aware of biased and non-inclusive language. 

Certain jargon can deter certain gender and racial groups to avoid applying. Many phrases unintentionally target men. FastCompany claims that using terms such as “rockstar” or “wizard” to describe a role does not identify with everyone. 

They also say, “Research has shown that job advertisements uphold gender and racial bias, so  it’s critical that companies pay attention to removing any biased or coded language from their specs. A good example of biased language is when people ask for ‘native English speakers’ — when what they want is fluency in the language.” Always consider the way your words can be perceived.  

Be honest about the interview process and work opportunities. 

As we’ve mentioned, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered candidate expectations. People want to know, from the beginning, what they are getting into.

To avoid candidates backing out due to lack of communication, LinkedIn suggests, “Being open about the number of interviews and assessments helps the candidate decide if it’s right for them. Candidates will want to know the details — how much, when, where, and with whom they’ll work. The pandemic spurred the Great Reshuffle, so companies would be wise to tout flexibility if they’re offering it.” 

Showcase your company culture. 

Lifestyle and diversity are vital to candidates. Knowing the dynamic of a company before getting involved makes them feel safe, appreciated, and excited from the beginning. 

To spotlight the culture, FastCompany suggests, “Mention culture awards, revenue growth, positive employee reviews, etc. to encourage them to apply. You can link to relevant pages on your website, showing DEI goals or values.” This stresses your company’s dedication to diversity and inclusive lifestyles.

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