The role is open. The company is eager to fill it. You’re excited about the possibilities. The ideal candidate is already in your vision. You’ve collaborated with the company to create what you think is the perfect job description.
But is it?
Maybe you’ve overlooked something, or maybe you’re just unaware of the newest tactics to engage qualified applicants. It happens to the best of us.
If you think you fall in with the above, read on to discover the five hidden gems that make the best job descriptions super-effective.
Somehow, someway, it always comes back to search engine optimization (SEO). After all, if it can’t be found, does it exist? You can offer the highest-paying, options-rich, biggest-growth job available at the most innovative company out there, but if the top candidates don’t know the job exists, how can you truly deliver value to the company you work for?
When you write a job description with SEO in mind, you open yourself and your company to a more extensive pool of the RIGHT candidates—giving you more leverage and better outcomes.
So how do you write a job description with SEO in mind? First of all, don’t overcomplicate it. A great place to start is avoiding titles like “Code Ninja,” “Marketing Wizard,” “Sales Rock Star,” “Product Visionary,” or any other obscure descriptions that no one ever searches for.
Use industry-standard job titles that define the job being filled, even if internal naming conventions vary. While you might be hiring for an internally-defined position of “Client Success Advocate,” “Account Manager” can be the preferable title on your job listing. This, of course, is more than likely the term people search for, making your content more relevant to search algorithms.
An easy way to stay on top of job titles candidates are searching for is by monitoring www.indeed.com/jobtrends. An added bonus to this platform is the insight it gives you into keyword searches, allowing you to integrate those into the job description.
Lastly, the length of your job description is important. “Job postings with descriptions between 700 to 2000 characters get up to 30% more applicants than other job postings.”
Following these few simple rules will help optimize your job descriptions for search. No coding or certifications required!
Courtesy of ZipRecruiter: “Job listings with gender-neutral wording get 42% more responses.”
Gendered wording describes the practice of using terms that skew job descriptions toward men or women. While this practice is accidental, it can result in qualified candidates abandoning job opportunities before applying.
Examples of gendered wording cited by ZipRecruiter include “strong,” “competitive,” “assertive” (male) and “pleasant,” “nurturing, “connect” (female). Reframing your job descriptions with more inclusive terms can not only prevent you from losing out on top talent, but bolster a company’s brand, positioning them as progressive and well-informed.
But how do you know if the language in your job description is gender-neutral? There are plenty of answers and examples to be found online, and a service like Gender Decoder or Textio will do the heavy lifting for you.
However you go about it, the goal is to identify and remove bias in your job descriptions, helping you cast a wider net for your target roles. As Textio CEO Keiran Snyder says, “When you’re not excluding half of your potential applicant pool, not limiting it to one demographic, then the roles fill much more quickly. What we see when analyzing around 50 million of our clients’ job postings is that removing gendered language means these vacancies are filled, on average, two weeks faster.”
Canvas your job description in “culture”!
Remember that the job description isn’t just about the role you’re hiring for; it also represents a significant lifestyle shift for the person applying. Paint an accurate picture of the company and its employees. What makes this a unique and desirable place to work? Why do current employees love working here?
Make these focal points prominent throughout the job description instead of burying them near the end. Be specific with job benefits and perks.
List out all of the unique facets – flexible remote work, commute stipends, tuition reimbursements, happy hour and trivia nights, morning meditation sessions, ping pong and foosball, and whatever else current employees cite as an added bonus.
Additionally, emphasize the growth opportunities in this role and highlight the future vision of the company. Help your candidates envision this role as a destination, not a stepping stone.
Remember that a job description is, in essence, a sales pitch. In a competitive market where candidates have options aplenty, the better your pitch, the more likely you are to land the RIGHT person.
Showcasing the culture of the company and its people goes a long way in doing just that.
Don’t Forget to Vet
Once you’ve completed a draft of your job description, solicit feedback before you finalize it and post on job boards. Seek out individuals in similar roles and ask if your listing passes the credibility test. Collect feedback from current employees in the same role. And even better, find individuals in similar roles at other companies and ask them to evaluate the description.
Employees in the current role, and those in similar positions outside of the organization, can help you answer these questions:
Are the requirements realistic? Are there any key components missing? Are both day-to-day tasks and big-picture duties spelled out? Is the salary range listed? Is it competitive? Is the ad well-structured and engaging? Is this a compelling offer? Are candidates likely or unlikely to abandon it before finishing it?
Lastly, ask those vetting your listing “what one thing would make this description better?”
Having your job descriptions vetted is a simple way to fine-tune them, and more importantly, a smart way to ensure you’re seeing the description from the candidate’s point of view and not just your own.
Did you know that those posting job openings on CareerBuilder see a 34% greater application rate when they add video to their job postings? Did you know that those using video in their email correspondence and outreach see 5x higher open rates and 8x higher open-to-reply rates?
Video gives you a chance to cut through the noise and stand out from similar listings and competing recruiters. It offers an ideal way to make a memorable connection and immediately start building a strong relationship with your applicants.
Through video, candidates can see the personality, culture, and big-picture story of the company they’re considering. Recruiters and hiring managers can forge stronger bonds by putting a “face” on the company and role; a video tells thousands of words—warms, humor, allays apprehensions, inspires, motivates—whereas text-based correspondence and descriptions often fail to effectively convey and persuade.
Hear it from John Reed, Senior Executive Director at the global HR consulting titan Robert Half International: “Can you add a video spot with the hiring manager or with potential colleagues where they explain the job and why they love to work for the company? This is a major differentiator, and candidates definitely take notice."
When composing your next job description, remember these five key points.
- Optimize for SEO: use industry-standard titles and keywords, and keep your descriptions between 700 and 2,000 words.
- Look for and eliminate bias: use gender-neutral terms to increase response rates and expedite the hiring process.
- Showcase “culture” throughout: highlight the unique features, perks, and personalities of the company to attract top candidates.
- Solicit feedback: ask employees in and outside of the organization to vet your job description in order to make it more compelling and relevant.
- Use video: pair your text-based efforts with video to stand out, humanize the company, and boost application rates.
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