Create a winning job description

A well written job description attracts top applicants. (rawpixel.com pic)

As a job seeker you will spend an average of 11 hours a week looking for a new job. That’s a lot of time spent reading job descriptions with endless lists of preferred qualifications and responsibilities.

To get an interview, you need to submit a resume, personalise the cover letter, provide references and more.

However, many companies don’t give their job descriptions the same level of attention they ask of a job seeker.

Standard job descriptions can cause companies to miss out on top talent. Conversion rates on career sites are down as less than 10% of candidates apply for the positions.

Job descriptions just aren’t getting applicants excited. In a competitive job market, making job descriptions stand out is more important than ever.

Making your job description stand out

Focus on the big picture

It’s important for millennials to feel their work is contributing to something bigger. This generation seeks opportunities to grow, contribute meaningfully and feel like management decisions are transparent and inclusive.

You can tap into this by linking job descriptions to overall organisational goals. Keep the job functions limited to five to seven bullet points and describe how the position contributes to key business objectives.

Sentences like “Be a part of the marketing team that works toward X% growth this year” or “Help us roll out X new products by the end of 2019” will spur goal-minded candidates to apply.

Use video, graphics and other visuals

Some companies try to stand out by using job titles like “ninja” or “rockstar”. Not only does this sound cliche and fake, it makes your vacancy harder to search for.

Stick to straightforward language and visuals or video to provide your brand identity and show your company culture. A great example is Twitter’s tongue-in-cheek employer branding video.

Spice up your job description with employee testimonials, an infographic laying out the key qualifications and requirements or some pictures to break up the text.

Give them a reason to apply

Candidates are scrolling through dozens of job descriptions each day. Salary and benefits are the top considerations for accepting a job offer so be transparent about these specific perks.

What are the benefits that come with your company? These can be as simple as a great work culture. Opportunities for advancement or to learn a new skill can set you apart from other companies.

Do a little recruitment marketing by showing what awaits when someone applies for the position.

Get rid of catchphrases

Job descriptions blur together because they all sound the same. Recruiters love using terms like “enthusiastic and motivated” and “willingness to learn.”

Catchphrases can turn away candidates who are looking for a forward-thinking, innovative company. Often, catchphrases are used as a crutch to avoid explaining the real requirements of the position.

Does “enthusiasm” really refer to someone who vocalises support and positive feedback to their team, or is it someone who isn’t afraid to meet deadlines and works diligently?

Most hiring managers wait until the interview to vet candidates with their specific brand of enthusiasm, but with a better job description, this process can be streamlined.

Don’t go crazy on the requirements

Many recruiters write job descriptions that simply aren’t realistic and can hurt your recruitment efforts more than you realise.

Research shows that women are unlikely to apply for a position unless they meet 100% of the requirements. To be more inclusive in your hiring, scale back the qualifications in your job description to absolute requirements.

The “nice-to-have” skills should be left out, otherwise you could be scaring away qualified candidates who are intimidated by the description.

Write for inclusivity and diversity

The way you write your job description can send the wrong message to a potential candidate. Of course, you want to include language or images that showcase your company culture; however, don’t try to write in a way that attracts “people like us.”

Ensure your descriptions are free from gender bias by using tools like The Gender Decoder, which tells you whether your description is feminine-coded, masculine-coded or neutral.

Using more neutral wording can help open up your candidate pool by 42% and improve your application rates dramatically.

This article first appeared in vervoe.com.

At Vervoe, our mission is to fundamentally transform the hiring process from mediocracy to meritocracy.