Writing an effective job description is what working smarter, not harder, is all about. A well-thought-out job description ensures you don’t deter top talent and attracts only the right candidates. It’s about finding the right balance between being specific and inviting.
Define who you are looking for
Many people often forget to define who it is they’re looking for before they start the recruitment process. You already know that you need a Sales Consultant, but what type of person will fit the job description? Who will perform the job best?
There are a few things to consider. What sort of experience do they require? Do they need experience? What areas should they specialise in? What sort of personality will fit in with the rest of the team? What sort of tasks will they perform?
A Sales Consultant in one company will perform different tasks in another – even within the same industry. So, it’s important to define exactly what you need and what the candidate needs to perform in this position.
Ask fellow team members to contribute to this part! Employees who will be working with this person will have a better understanding of what skills are missing from the team or what they need to perform well.
Defining who you are looking for will provide all the details you need for what to include in a job description.
Choose a widely used job title
Choose a job title that is commonly used in the industry. This will be the keyword that most job seekers use in their job hunt. Buzz words like ‘ninja’ or ‘guru’ might seem fun, but candidates are less likely to use these words in their search. Your jobs will rank lower in search results and won’t be suggested to as many candidates in job alerts, as they won’t be as relevant.
According to Indeed, words like ‘ninja’ and ‘guru’ have been found to deter and confuse job applicants. They don’t know what is expected of them and they are inclined to think they’re not the right cultural fit for the business.
Provide an overview of the job and company the job seeker will work for
Give the candidate a brief description of the job in a few sentences. Describe the main functions of the role and how they will contribute to business objectives. Who would want to apply for a job that has little purpose?
This is also your opportunity to sell your business! Give a short description of the company. Make sure to include your company values, vision, purpose/mission, benefits and highlight the culture. In this candidate short market, job seekers are looking for a company that aligns with their values and cultural preference. There are many roles to choose from and candidates know they have the power.
Use headings to break up the job ad
Like hiring managers scan CVs, candidates scan job ads. The easier an ad is for a job seeker to read, the more likely they are to apply. Candidates will apply for multiple roles. But there is a limit. Reading job descriptions can take up a lot of time and can be mentally draining. So, make it easier and more enticing to read.
Describe role responsibilities in a way that focuses on growth
Use task-based descriptions and list common duties that will have a greater impact on business objectives. This will imply that the role has a purpose.
Make sure to use short descriptions and list these in dot points. Dot points are a great way to break down large chunks of information and make it easier for the reader to digest. Remember, candidates are scanning your ad.
Bonus tip: Highlight tasks that the candidate will learn on the job. Many studies suggest that women are less likely to apply for jobs where they don’t meet most, or even all, of the requirements. Explaining what they will learn will encourage more candidates to apply.
Check out SEEK’s advice for writing a good job ad, here.
List role requirements but don’t be too restrictive
This will help qualify candidates and encourage only candidates with relevant requirements to apply. However, you don’t want to be too specific, so much that you are looking for a recruitment unicorn and you don’t have any suitable candidates at all.
Avoid listing years of experience required. You might deter candidates who are highly qualified but just haven’t been working long enough.
Avoid listing too many requirements. Only include what is absolutely necessary to perform the role and limit it to a maximum of six points. You can talk about negotiable skills later in the process.
Make a short job video
A video will make it easier for job seekers to digest your ad. Viewers retain 95 per cent of a video's message in comparison to 10 per cent when reading text.
You’ll want to include a summary of the most important points, providing a good overview of the role, company and requirements, finishing with a call to action encouraging viewers to apply. It’s most engaging to film someone relevant speaking about the role, for example, the Manager or Team Leader; but if you don’t have someone confident enough, you can use a video template on Canva. Read our video filming tips, here.
Some job advertising platforms, such as SEEK, allow you to embed a video into the ad. Take advantage of these features as they are designed to help you find and attract candidates.
To get the best return on investment of your time, ensure you post the video across all company platforms and social media. You could even email it to your customers with a referral incentive!
Check and double-check for spelling mistakes
When a CV comes through with spelling and grammatical errors, you assume the candidate has bad attention to detail and is careless with important documents. The candidate is judging your job description the same way! Any communication that has your brand on it reflects your company and you want to make a good impression for what will be a mutual relationship.
Tell the candidate how to apply
It is vital to add a call to action (CTA) whenever you want the reader to take an action – this will prompt them to do so! When thinking about what to include in a job description, this is no different. Encourage the applicant to apply and leave a personal touch by including the contact person’s name and number, in case they have any questions.
In a candidate short market, prompting candidates to call with any questions can work in your favour; this is an opportunity for you to learn more about the candidate and sell your company to them too!
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