job description

8 tips for writing a job description that attracts top talent

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Writing a good job description is an art of its own. Creating the text for the vacancy is a time-consuming process, let alone it often needs to be posted as soon as possible while you are also heavily dependent on your colleagues’ timely briefing. And, let’s face it, sometimes it is just difficult to get the writing process started. If you relate to some of the above, then the following 8 tips are for you.

The importance of a well-written job description

Although coming up with a well-written job description takes time, it pays pack by attracting high quality candidates. Now, what is a well-written job description, anyways? It is one that communicates in a clear way what the job opening is all about and draws enough potential candidates’ attention to your job ad. This, on the other hand, ensures higher quality of applications, gives you competitive edge and can even strengthen your employer brand on the long run.

Getting started with writing your job description

When it comes to writing a job description, preparation is half the battle. So, here are 8 essential tips to help you prepare for crafting a well-written job description:

Tip 1: Decide on a relevant and easy to find online job title

A job title should describe the function very well. Make sure that the title is as relevant as possible and if it is still too general add a hard skill description to it (e.g. a specialism: online, software, etc.).

Once you’ve come up with a good job title, you need to make sure that it is one that can be easily found by potential candidates. Creative job titles can be a lot of fun and tend to stand out, but if potential candidates can not find your job ad you won’t have much success. With the help of tools like Google Trends you can explore how common a job title is, compare it with similar ones and check the search volume of each of these.

Tip 2: Outline the job’s key USPs

Now that you have a good title, you can start outlining what exactly makes this job appealing to potential candidates, in other words what are the USPs of your job description. In case you find this too challenging, feel free to ask your colleagues for input. First, ask them what they find most challenging about their daily job, but also verify on what’s that they like about it the most.

Then fine tune the messaging of the job description accordingly. For instance, it can be very important for IT professionals to know what innovative tools they get to work with, while for interns knowing what they can learn is what makes them choose for one vacancy over another.

Tip 3: Include as many benefits as possible

Job ads very often match poorly the needs and expectations of potential candidates in that the benefits and perks are missing from the job description. Benefits are often understood as salary only, but it’s actually so much more! The location, working environment and the team are all aspects that can improve the attractiveness of your vacancy.

In the cases when you are not allowed to mention the salary, try to mention a couple of other benefits that might be interesting to potential candidates. If there is, for instance, extensive travelling involved, you can mention the perks involved, such as a travel expenses, a car, a laptop or a mobile phone.

Tip 4: Use job-specific terminology

You need to pay special attention to using the correct terminology in your job description. This way you are building a clear picture of the job, so that a potential candidate can instantly relate to the job position. Not to forget that using job-specific terminology makes your job ad easier to find online. If you find it difficult to come up with job-specific terminology, you can reach out to your colleagues and/or do some desk research.

In any case, make sure that you don’t use any terms that are too lengthy or include explanation of what they actually mean. This would impair the readability of the job description and let’s face it – the right candidates should be aware of the terminology anyways.

Tip 5: Be realistic in your requirements towards candidates

It is crucial to be realistic in your requirements towards potential candidates. Don’t make the list of skills & competencies too long. This can easily make the job look unachievable. Distinguish between specific hard skills (i.e. the must-haves of the CV in terms of training or experience) and soft skills (i.e. personality skills and competencies). The hard skills should be short, to the point and preferably summarised in a bullet points’ list, which makes them easy to spot when skimming through the job description.

Tip 6: Include what’s unique about your company

Many job ads include a detailed description of the company’s history. Instead try to describe what makes your company unique. Any awards your company has won recently? Projects you are proud of or maybe even specific ambitious goals for the near future? Such an elevator pitch has the power to additionally motivate potential candidates. All in all, keep it short and preferably refer to the company website and/or relevant videos (which would give you an extra SEO boost.

Tip 7: Keep it short and simple (KISS)

It is important to write in a catchy and engaging way, but you need to make sure that you choose a tone of voice that suits the company in terms of brand. Only once you’ve outlined the tone of voice, you can start creating the text according to the KISS model: Keep It Short and Simple (KISS). Keep your sentences short and speak directly to the reader (e.g. You will execute the strategy…), write paragraphs preferably no longer than five lines and alternate between text and bullet points to keep the text easy to read. Try to write the text with your future colleague and not your company in mind. (Wrong: We are looking for; We want. Correct: What’s in it for you, Who are you?).

Tip 8: Build you copy following the AIDA model

Attention, Interest, Desire and Action (AIDA). The AIDA model is a useful marketing model for building the main body text of your vacancy. Here’s how to apply the AIDA model. First, capture the attention of potential candidates with a catchy introduction or the vacancy main USP; second, create interest stating what the job entails and what the main perks of the offer are; then, try to provoke desire through adding unique information about your business, products and/or services; and finally, give your potential candidates that final push they need before they apply by adding a compelling call to action.

Ready, steady, go!

A clear and well-written vacancy text would improve your chances to find the right candidate within a short period of time. Now that you’ve read through these 8 simple tips, go ahead and give it a try yourself!

For those of you who want to learn even more about how to write successful job descriptions or have any recruitment technology related questions, you can contact our experts via the button below:

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Sarah Gerding
Sarah Gerding

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