You need to hire. There's no time to waste. You're losing money every day that goes by without another qualified employee in place.
You need to post a job description that will quickly attract applicants. You want your pick at the best talent 24-48 hours after you make the job public.
In order to get these results, you're going to have to ditch the traditional methods of creating a job description. Most job descriptions are crap. They are completely boring and don’t give enough detail about the company or the job being offered.
Even a quick Google search on how to write an effective job description results in boring, blah articles that do not show you how to truly be effective in attracting the right applicants.
That’s why I’m going to give 5 tips for writing a kick-ass public job description that does the hard work for you.
Posting an awesome job description will not only get you tons of applicants, it will attract the ones you want.
How you ask? The applicants you really want to talk to will identify with your post so much that they will go above and beyond to show you how they are a good fit without any effort on your part. And those are the exact people you want to be talking to. They’ll be handed to you on a silver platter.
Without further ado, here are 5 tips for writing a job description that attracts the best applicants.
1. Create an enticing headline
The title/header of your job description should be the title you are giving to the new hire (i.e. VP of Operations). Under that, add a subheader that draws attention and makes the reader want to read more.
Try using a question that sheds some light about the company and/or the offer, such as “Are you ready to lead operations for the fastest growing light manufacturer in the U.S.?” or “Are you a Ruby Developer? Do you LOVE It??”
It doesn’t hurt to show some enthusiasm and drum up some excitement off the bat. The subheader also allows you to give readers a sneak peak into what the job is all about.
2. Show off your culture
It’s important that reading your job description allows someone to gain insight into who you are as a company, what you stand for, and your company culture.
In doing this, you’re helping people identify with your company, attracting those who get and appreciate your culture and weeding out those who are turned off by it. (Yes, it’s a good thing to detract people from your description, it saves you time).
If you have Core Values (if you don’t, you should), list them and give a brief explanation for each. Write about any mottos or traditions you have as a company. Write about how your teams work together and what your structure looks like. Write about how you approach clients and what you truly believe in. Write about what excites people already working at your company.
You don’t have to write a novel. And this type of writing isn’t just for companies with ping pong tables and beer Fridays. You’re simply trying to express your company “attitude”. Write just enough about your company and the type of environment your employees experience so that it’s easier for applicants to get a sense as to whether or not they would fit in and enjoy working with you.
3. Write well
Often times someone who writes a job description tries to be brief and all HR about it. Yes, job descriptions can be used as a legal document and of course should be taken seriously. But this doesn’t mean it has to be dry, boring and sparse.
Focus on writing really good content. Again, those who don’t jive with it will stop reading and not apply. But those who are drawn in will keep reading, understand where you are coming from and apply. Don’t be afraid to actually write something worth reading.
So go ahead and write paragraphs that really explain what you’re seeking and who you are as a company and don’t be afraid of writing too much. Yes, you’re going to need bullet points, (more on this below) but that doesn’t mean you can’t also have fun and engaging content throughout your post.
4. Make a sales pitch
Write your public job description like a sales letter. After all, you are selling your company and your opportunity. You are actually trying to get a direct response and/or action from people (just like the goal of a sales letter).
I know what some people are thinking: “Why do I have to try so hard to sell the job, I don’t want someone if I have to hard sell them for their consideration."
Well, you’re wrong. You do have to do some selling in order to attract the right people. This doesn’t mean creating smoke and mirrors and hiding the truth. (And if you think that’s what sales is, you’re wrong on that too).
You are making a pitch. You want people to read your entire job post and then take action. And remember, your hiring/interviewing process will then do the work of weeding out unqualified applicants and ensuring you hire the right person.
A good sales letter speaks to the reader like they are talking to a friend at the bar. It keeps people reading to the bottom of the page. It gives a clear and direct call to action at the bottom (i.e. apply now by doing X).
Think “sales” and you’ll make your job description more effective.
5. Nail down the job roles and requirements
Make sure to take the time to identify the responsibilities for the position as well as the requirements.
The responsibilities should be in bullet form and be concise, always starting with a verb and written in present tense. (i.e. Develop incentive structures for all staff that are consistent with company goals).
Be sure the responsibilities are well thought out and include only the most important functions of the role. These are the things that person must do and be responsible for, no matter what, in order to be an effective piece of the larger organization.
Nailing down the responsibilities for the position helps applicants understand what they are getting into and will help weed people out that aren’t qualified.
Doing this also ensures you understand what you are looking for. If you find you can only be vague and general in this section, then you shouldn’t be posting a job. Go back with your team and make sure there’s actually a seat in your company that needs to be filled.
Create a separate bulleted section for job requirements. These are the things that you absolutely need in order to consider hiring someone (i.e. experience in X, certified in Y, etc.)
Don’t make requirements just for the sake of making requirements. Just make a short list of those must haves so everyone involved in your hiring process and all your applicants are aware of them.
You’ll be checking on those requirements as applicants come in and will use them to weed people out. Because of this, if being certified in X is really just a nice to have and not absolutely necessary, don’t add it to this list (you can always add a “Nice to Have” list below the list of Requirements).
So there you have it. Tips you can use to craft your next public job description so that you will never fall short on highly qualified individuals that you can hire for your next open seat.
Does anyone have other tricks they use when writing a job description that has been proven to attract the right applicants? Comment away!
I'm Kim. I like to work hard but not enough to stop having fun and enjoying life. I hope I never stop learning and exploring. Other people inspire me to be and do better every day. Read on for reflections on work and play.