3 Simple Steps to Better Job Descriptions

Today’s candidate finding your job description on your company careers page is not going to be their first interaction with your brand.  More than likely that candidate has done some research on you long before they ever make it to the apply stage.  Today’s candidate will dig into your social media accounts to know what the culture is like, they’re connecting with your current employees to network as a referral instead of a walk in and they’ve checked your Glassdoor review to see what questions you plan to ask in the interview and what you current and former employees have to say about the experience.

Whether this candidate decided to apply because of a Google alert they set for your jobs, or an interaction on Facebook with someone from your team, or a job board - when it’s time to apply your job descriptions are a chance for you to showcase a bit of your culture and your employer brand first hand. 

First things first though, you have to be yourself.  A lot of the job descriptions out there look like they’ve been unchanged since the Carter Administration. They are dry and interchangeable and do little to stand out.  I’ve also seen some great job descriptions out there that would make me want to apply.  Whoever is crafting the copy for the job descriptions at Woot! deserves an award.  Check out their recent blurb for an Associate Vendor Manager:

“On the walkway that leads to the Forbidden Temple you’ll face off against six well-trained capoeria masters who also have swords. You’ll parry, they’ll thrust, you’ll dodge, they’ll counter. In the end, you’ll be victorious. Inside the temple you’ll read the symbols on the wall and laugh. “It warns of customer-facing details,” you’ll scribble down in your journal. “Perhaps there’ll be larger project initiatives ahead, forcing me to drive process improvements for the entire team.” But it won’t phase you, because you’ll have spent time leveraging strong project management skills with full ownership over key processes. For you’ll have been an Associate Vendor Manager. And possibly you’ll also have a magic whip. That last part’s up to you, of course, we aren’t gonna supply it. Paper clips, yes, magic whip, no.”

You know that your job is going to be serious.  Nothing is all fun and games unless you’re a food critic being forced to sample all kinds of delicious food from each new restaurant in your city.  But from the voice and tone of the Woot! job description you get a glimpse into the kind of fun that office is probably having in addition to the tasks you will be compensated for.

Second, while that Woot! job description may speak to me, you have to think about who your target candidate and audiences will be.  You can’t take someone else’s job description and do some plug and play and post it up to your site if it’s not going to be authentic to you.  Those employees you attract will not be the ones who stick around when the actual work environment does not match up to the advertisement.  What attracts candidates to Woot is not going to be the same thing that would attract a Senior Client Service Associate to Morgan Stanley and you have to recognize that. 

Third, you have to be honest and direct.   Today’s candidates expect to know the types of tasks and projects they will be working on.  What will an actual day be like for them working in that role?  Who will they interact with? Honesty is the best policy.  More than likely the best of these candidates will have done the research to have a pretty good idea before they even start of what to expect.  If you take the a chance and try to bluff your way through the recruitment process, you will find yourself on blast on social media, your credibility suffers, and a review of the disingenuous process from your candidate’s perspective will find its way to your Glassdoor page post haste – further compounding your recruiting woes.

If you are currently struggling with finding your voice and composing job descriptions to attract your candidates join me and the team from Glassdoor for the webinar, Job Descriptions that Land You Great Hires, on August 11, at 2pm ET.  We’ll be joined by Jen Slaski, Executive Director of Marketing Communications at Spiceworks as she shares how to leverage your employer brand to influence candidates, optimizing your job titles and descriptions to target your ideal candidates, and micro-appealing to Millennials.

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