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The Importance of a Strong Job Description

We recently wrote about the challenges job seekers face in making their resume stand out to hiring managers. However, in a job seeker’s market, there is an equal importance to ensure job descriptions are attracting the right talent as well.

The crowded job market of today combined with competing demands for attention on the internet means to source the best talent, your job descriptions have to stand out and appeal on a personal level. Appealing personally can be done in a range of ways, but most importantly, the content and format of your job description must be right.

What makes an appealing job description?

We increasingly hear from our candidates that they only apply for jobs that relate to them and their personal goals, and that a company’s voice and culture is important to envision through the words. Often times, a candidate’s first interaction with an organization is when they read the job description (JD). Therefore, it is crucial to ensure your JD appeals to what your audience is looking for straight away. Knowing and understanding your audience’s motivations and objectives is critical to this step, and might change with each position you source for. For example, in our experience, when we are sourcing for an established EA/PA role, our best-suited candidates are often seeking stability and security in return. However, if we are sourcing for a communications coordinator, they tend to seek vibrant companies that offer great social aspects and room for growth. Understanding what your audience is looking for, and tailoring the job description to highlight these points clearly and concisely can make your hiring process significantly smoother.

Part of understanding your audience is also understanding the format in which they like to consume information, and then further tailoring your description based on this. In the digital age, where less is more and things are often said in 140 characters or less, hiring managers and recruiters alike are constantly having to adapt the way they target job seekers. Part of that change has included re-visiting the format and length of the traditional JD. While lengthy, detailed job descriptions are still used, a lot of organizations are cutting them back and using bite-sized chunks of information broken up with images, bullet points, and the occasional video. When possible, keep the job description short and simple. Try using a different style of language, including some anecdotes from current employees, or updating the format of the posting. These little changes can make a significant impact when hiring employees.

If you are looking to hire, create job descriptions, and make them meaningful and relevant. Your access to talent will reflect that extra effort.

Beth Title