6 Ways to Tweak Your Job Descriptions to Attract Better Talent

By Monique Craig - Jun. 14, 2016
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Editors Note: This is a guest post by Monique Craig from Oneflare. Her opinions are her own.

If you’re struggling to find the right talent and your business goes through endless hiring cycles, this post is for you. Unfortunately, many organizations tend to sabotage their hiring strategy by publishing job descriptions which only prevent them from reaching critical recruitment goals. Ensure that you’re attracting the right type of talent by writing clear and relevant job descriptions.

Here are 6 tips to help you do that and boost the retention rate at your organization.

Free Guide: This article outlines how to write a job description that is clear, concise and accurately defines the role – in 5 simple steps. Download Now!

1. Include the right keywords

The first step many candidates take when job hunting is searching for relevant keywords on Google or a job board. If your post doesn’t include these keywords, talent won’t be able to find it through their search engine and consequently won’t knock on your door. That’s why you should make sure that your job description contains relevant phrases and job titles corresponding to those displayed by the search engine for the type of position you’re offering.

Think twice before naming your job posting HR Warrior or Recruitment Ninja. This just isn’t something people generally look for. Instead, focus on ensuring that your posting pops up at the very top of the list by optimizing it for different channels. You’re looking for specific talent and generalisations won’t help you here. Be succinct and write to the point – show candidates that you mean business.

For instance, if you’re looking for a skilled software developer, make sure to include their main skill in the title – like JavaScript, Python or Ruby. You might also wish to specify the level of your job, adding phrases like ‘junior’ or ‘senior’ if appropriate. As for the job description itself – be specific. If you’re looking for a JavaScript expert, specify which frameworks, task runners and collaborative tools they should know to apply for the position. Be sure to reiterate the most relevant keywords in the description so that search engines find it easily.

2. Attract the right type of employee

Even if it sounds a little odd, it’s always worth picturing your ideal candidate before sitting down to write a job description. Start by listing all critical qualities you’re looking for in an ideal candidate. Be realistic about it and don’t ask for more than you can find (or pay for). Don’t make it into another list of 10 must-haves. Instead, concentrate on coming up with 3-4 things you imagine your ideal candidates to possess.

This will not only help you to specify who you’re looking for, but it will also make it easier to understand where to post your job to ensure that this type of candidate actually stumbles upon it. Make sure to emphasize the impact of the role on the organization and help candidates understand how their daily activities will contribute to the working of the company. Make the job feel special and important – talent won’t be interested in opportunities which are generic and could be filled with just about anyone looking for a job.

3. Stand out from the crowd

This is a key issue. Have a look at job postings for similar positions to determine what you need in order to stand out and attract the attention of talent during their job hunt. Avoid overused phrases and the same old expressions you see in other descriptions.

Steer clear from the obvious – practically every employer offers a fast-paced or dynamic working environment and almost every job posting is addressed to highly motivated self-starters. Why should your posting follow these rules? Applicants who have any idea about this type of language will only roll their eyes when they see phrases like that. They are obvious, overused and kind of boring – and that’s not something talent are attracted to.

4. Communicate company culture and key values

A job description is also a perfect place to show what it’s like to work at your organization. Share some key information about the company culture – what is its central mission, what type of people you’re looking to add to your team and what the job really looks like.

If you’re offering flexible schedules or other solutions which boost work-life balance, be sure to mention it. Interactive content and attractive videos are excellent if you’d like to directly communicate the brand narrative to candidates without making your job description too long.

5. Make it pleasant to read

Cold, impersonal and detached language? Sure, it looks professional but who would really want to work at a lifeless company like that? Not one of those candidates you’re so desperate to attract. Be honest and bring some life into your descriptions to make them engaging. It’s a good idea to be a little fun and show the uniqueness of the company or advertised position.

Before posting your job online, be sure to read its description and ask yourself if this is a position you would apply for. If it sounds stiff and boring and turns out to be just a list of requirements with no real call for action, potential candidates are bound to ignore it. Similarly, a job description might sound too enthusiastic to be true, or be cluttered with keywords which don’t make any sense together. Although it is of prime importance to repeat the most related phrases to ensure your description ranks highly, be sure not to overdo it. If it sounds as artificial as something that has been written by a computer program and not a real human, you are virtually asking potential applicants to leave.

A good job description which engages candidates provides exhaustive information about the position and the company but is still written in an accessible language that reflects the company’s culture and personality.

6. Write with mobile in mind

A recent survey from Glassdoor revealed that 9 out of 10 job seekers are job hunting on mobile. If you fail to optimize your descriptions for mobile, you’ll force candidates to switch between devices – and that might be simply too much to ask. Make applying on mobile as easy as you can and you’ll only gain candidate appreciation.

How can optimize your job description for mobile? Keep it short and sweet – nobody wants to stare into their tiny screen for a long time. Make it easy on the eyes and divide information into short, digestible bits by using bullet points where appropriate. Finally, make sure to also create a mobile-responsive career site!

Apply these tips to your job description writing practice and you’ll be on your way to attracting and engaging the best talent!

Monique Craig is an avid blogger, a self-improvement literature enthusiast and a part of the team behind Oneflare - an online marketplace for Australian businesses and customers. When not engaged in any project, she might usually be found reading a new book for entrepreneurs or drinking cappuccino at a local café (often simultaneously).


Monique Craig

Monique Craig is an avid blogger, a self-improvement literature enthusiast and a part of the team behind Oneflare - an online marketplace for Australian businesses and customers. When not engaged in any project, she might usually be found reading a new book for entrepreneurs or drinking cappuccino at a local café (often simultaneously).

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