A Recipe for the Perfect Job Description

The first step in filling any open position in a company is creating the perfect job description. Only 17% of hiring managers say that all, or nearly all of job seekers have the necessary skills they are looking for. If less than one-quarter of hiring managers say that job seekers have necessary skills, how can they use a job description to attract the qualified candidates.

There’s a very specific recipe for a good job description: keywords, descriptions of duties, and effective titles. Job descriptions that are combinations of strategy and creativity get the most attention. When trying to reduce time-to-hire, the stronger the job description, the less time it takes to recruit the best candidates. So, the recipe for the ideal job description is as follows:

The Main Ingredient: Strategic Keywords

Using strategic keywords is one of the most important ingredients to the job description. Because the world is so dependent upon the internet, job descriptions have to be searchable. Without these keywords, candidates won’t be able to find the job posting… it may as well be null and void. So the question remains, what keywords are best to use?

Take a look at competitor job postings or use tools like Google AdWords Keyword Tool to ascertain the best keywords to sprinkle through the job description. The brainstorming tools will help to create specific keywords to place in the job description. For example, instead of using “sales,” use something more targeted such as “financial sales services.” This will heighten the chances of the posting not only getting viewed, but finding higher qualified candidates as well.

A Whole Lot of Company Culture

The job description is the gateway for candidates to get a glimpse of company culture. Using stale language and a curt tone will do nothing to boost your employer brand. Job descriptions have to be a unique combination of culture and strategy in order to attract both functionally and culturally qualified candidates.

The best job descriptions have a detailed catalogue of what the position actually entails. Give candidates a snapshot of what their day on the job would look like. Use percentages to delineate how much time various projects will take. It’s important to include an overall objective as well. Be concise because a lengthy job description could lose your audience. The amount of technology in the world today has dramatically shortened human attention spans. Rob Weatherhead, Digital Operations Director at MediaCom, said:

“Studies have show that 32% of consumers will start abandoning slow sites between one and five seconds. Bounce rate can be improved by up to 30% with the reduction of page size and resulting speed improvements. A one second delay in page load time can result in 11% fewer page views, 16% decreased customer satisfaction, and 7% lost conversions.”

A Pinch of Specificity

Now, although this job description is wonderfully created, it won’t get a whole lot of attention if the title is lackluster. As with the description itself, specificity helps. It’s important to make sure it remains searchable so job seekers can find it in the first place. Indeed.com gives some suggestions for recruiters and hiring managers looking to fill open positions: 

“Keep the job title concise, between five and 80 characters, and avoid all caps. If your title is too long or too short, it will not rank well. Also it’s important to not include special characters in your title. This makes it easier to read and more likely to match the search queries from job seekers.”

The quality of a job description can be indicative of the quality of candidates who apply for the open position. In order to write an attractive job description, hiring managers have to include the company culture, a thorough set of searchable keywords that will bring in traffic, and a title to draw job seekers in. Give your candidates the best window into the job as possible; you can do this with an effective job description.

Bio: Raj Sheth, CEO/Partner

Raj Sheth is the co-founder of Recruiterbox, an online recruitment software and applicant tracking system designed especially for growing companies. Prior to Recruiterbox, he founded two other web startups -- a classifieds portal and an ecommerce site. He is a graduate of Babson College and spent the first three years of his career as a financial analyst with EMC Corporation in Boston. Learn more about Recruiterbox right now.

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Views: 466

Comment by Katrina Kibben on February 17, 2015 at 11:50am

Great post Raj - we just shared it on our RecruitingBlogs LinkedIn page as well if you want to chime in there: https://www.linkedin.com/company/recruitingblogs.com 

Comment by Steve Levy on February 17, 2015 at 12:39pm

Raj, the best job descriptions focus on performance, describing the specific problems the person will be asked to "solve" once hired. This needs to be the focus; all other elements you wrote about are necessary but not sufficient.

"When trying to reduce time-to-hire, the stronger the job description, the less time it takes to recruit the best candidates" - Raj, might want to be careful with a statement like this because at RBC many are educated consumers, and will demand proof. Frankly, there are many other factors aside from the JD that impact TTH, the most glaring being the skill of the recruiters.

While it's a great practice to SEO the JD, without performance it's all just ad-fluff.

Comment by Raj Sheth on February 17, 2015 at 5:00pm

Thanks Steve, I appreciate your feedback. I wasn't saying that the length or the SEO were the only factors around hiring or how long it would take to hire. But I think you know that! Obviously, that would be a much longer blog post. 


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