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The Essential Hireology Guide for Writing Effective Job Descriptions

Posted by James Patrick Kahler on August 12, 2016

The Perfect Pitch to Future Employees

 

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The job description is typically the first point of contact you have with a job applicant. It’s the moment when you can make a lasting impression and attract the type of talent you envision your company flourishing with. However, if you’re not writing quality job descriptions, you can ignore all of this and lower any expectations of your company “flourishing with talent.”


But it doesn’t have to be that way. According to a recent article from Businessnewsdaily.com:


“A recent study in the Journal of Business and Psychology found that writing better job descriptions can lead to a higher-quality pool of applicants. This means employers need to be more careful about what they put in their job posting and focus more on highlighting the company culture, what the position is really like, and what the company has to offer the job seeker.”


All accomplished written pieces of work have something that makes it attractive. Otherwise, no one would read it or pay attention. Before you decide to even spread the word that you’re hiring, make sure you create eye-catching job descriptions. Hireology is here to provide you with a simple guide that walks you through six easy steps for creating effective job descriptions:

  

1) CLEARLY DEFINE THE ROLE AND ITS RESPONSIBILITIES 


Must-Have:

  • A unique job title
  • 1-2 paragraph general overview of the position
  • Bullet points listing specific responsibilities

Similar to submitting an attractive resume, a job description must have that ‘pop’ or ‘pizzazz’ in order to make it stand out—especially for the younger generation of the workforce. Recent studies have shown that most millennials prefer culture and meaningful work, in contract to having a larger salary with boring work. So highlight anything that’s special within the position and your company.


Here are some things to consider before writing your job post:

  • How will this potential employee contribute to the company’s overall goals and mission?
  • What sets your company culture apart from others?
  • In what ways can this position make a difference within the company and its future?
  • What kind of social or ethical work does your company do outside of the office?


2) SPELL OUT WHAT YOU WANT AND DON’T WANT IN A CANDIDATE


Must-Have:

  • A list of what you’re looking for in the ideal candidate
  • Remarks on the negatives you don’t want

Whether you’re a manager or HR lead, you know better than anyone else why someone left your company and why that person didn’t quite fit. Therefore, you have to make it clear for applicants not only what you want in a potential employee, but also what you don’t want.


In your job descriptions, be sure to mention:

  • The type of personalities you have and want in the office
  • Talk about the work habits that are expected for success in the position
  • Consider mentioning the type of experience or past success that’s needed to perform well in this position
  • List the qualities or traits that are not allowed in the office (Don’t like slackers in the office? Don’t be afraid to mention it!)

3) CLARIFY WHAT YOU EXPECT FROM THE POSITION


Must-Have:

  • Bullet points listing requirements

Job descriptions are the best place to cut right to the chase. What’s the point of wasting both your time and the applicants, by writing a bunch of unnecessary jargon about how glorious the open position is? This is where “honesty as a best policy” comes in place. If you want to only bring in candidates who are qualified for your job, then you must be upfront when writing about job requirements on your descriptions. This means mentioning the “not so fun” parts of the job. If you’re upfront with candidates early on, then you have a greater chance of them sticking it out whenever things first go wrong early in the job.


Here are a few things to think about when writing your job requirements:

  • What kind of background is preferred for this position?
  • What kind of skills and education are necessary to perform this job well?
  • What kind of responsibilities will this employee have?
  • Are there any more things you expect your employee to do to fulfill this open position? (Think about working hours, technology or personalized skills, travel, etc.)

 

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4) HIGHLIGHT THE UNIQUE FEATURES OF YOUR COMPANY


Must-Have:

  • 1-2 paragraphs highlighting the company’s business and background, culture, work environment, job perks, and any additional information about the job

This is the part where you can brag about how great your company is and explain why it’s such a great place to start or continue a career. Sure, we have days when we might not feel this way about our work, but if you dig deep you can highlight the best aspects of your company. Culture is a crucial aspect for young job seekers, so make sure you talk about it.


Have writers block? Don’t forget to include this information about your company:

  • Your company’s mission statement or goals
  • How you support your employees (benefits, time off, etc.)
  • How you motivate your employees (think of the incentives or office perks you offer)
  • The type of people that work for your company

 

5) GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR JOB DESCRIPTIONS


Must-Have:

  • A clear and appealing message
  • Simplicity
  • Uniqueness

An easy, creative way to attract qualified candidates is to tell a short, yet compelling story within the job description. Give job seekers a brief synopsis of the position, but don’t feature every little aspect. Instead, tell them what makes your company unique. Keeping your job description short and sweet makes the application much more appealing to job seekers, as well as puts your company in a positive light as an employer.


You want to let applicants know why they should work for you and how they’d be playing an important role on your team. Don’t forget that people want to make an impact and feel appreciated.


Here’s what you need to keep in mind when writing a creative job description:

  • You’re talking to your ideal employee—the person you dream of having on your team
  • What makes your company better than your competitors?
  • Why should this person apply for the job?
  • What impact will he or she make for your company in this position?
  • What are some of the most interesting aspects of your office and culture that employees can’t find anywhere else?

 

6) PROMOTE THE OPEN POSITION


Must-Have:

  • A career website and social media accounts
  • Reliable job boards to post on

With a great job description in hand for your open role, it’s time to get that position some exposure to maximize candidate flow. We all know that posting your job openings on social media sites, as well as popular job boards, are easy ways to get your company and job listings out there to potential candidates. However, in order to truly capture the attention of the type of candidates you want, you must make sure you’re posting your open position in the right place.


The goal is to get your job description post to reflect both your company and culture. For example, if you’re hiring for an accountant position, it might be more appropriate to post your opening on a more formal site, such as LinkedIn, whereas if you’re hiring for a graphic designer position, a creative organizational site such as AIGA might be a better place to post. This way you can flush out candidates who might be serial applicant fillers!


Not sure where to post? Here are some practical places to post that won’t burn a hole through your wallet:

  • CareerBuilder.com
  • LinkedIn.com
  • Monster.com
  • Glassdoor.com
  • Indeed.com
  • SimplyHired.com


KEEP THIS IN MIND:


When it’s all said and done, job descriptions are similar to advertisements. Think of it as your big pitch! You’re selling your company and open jobs to potential applicants. You’re trying to attract the best group of talent out there by giving them an appealing message that hits home.

Make sure your job descriptions connect with those you want working at your company. If done right, you can expect a drastic increase in the type of talent you bring into your office.

 

This is just a guide on writing effective job descriptions. If you really want to get superior candidates into your hiring pool, talk to a Hireologist today and see how we can help by scheduling a quick demo below.

Schedule a Demo

Fresh Perspectives New Ideas, Job Description, Recruiting, Hiring Tips, Hiring, Social Recruiting


James Patrick Kahler

About the Author

James Patrick Kahler is Hireology’s Copywriter & Content Specialist. He is a graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and has over four years of professional experience writing for various industries. Outside of the office (and sometimes inside), he has a passion for comedy, advertising and his Cleveland sports teams…all of them.