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How to Write a Job Description to Attract Top Talent
CPHR Alberta is proud of our industry partnerships – they provide high-quality data and insights from thought leaders. The following blog post from Indeed is a great example of this thought leadership.
Finding the time to create an effective job post is challenging. Hiring managers and recruiters are often tempted to write job content as quickly as possible, taking short cuts along the way or using unconventional job titles to grab the attention of job seekers. However, having well-written job titles and descriptions that adhere to best practices is imperative to finding great talent, so it’s best to put in the time and do it right.
With Canada’s unemployment rate plummeting to record lows, finding top talent in today’s competitive labour market can be a challenge. To put this into perspective, 270,000 job postings are added to Indeed.com in Canada every month and 220,000 plus companies use Indeed to find new hires. How can you stand out against the competition? It begins with writing an effective job title and description.
Job titles and descriptions play a large part in your recruitment strategy as it helps ensure that three necessary steps take place: the right job seekers find your job, the right candidates click on your job and the best candidates apply for your job.
How search works
When job seekers begin their search on Indeed, they’re required to populate two fields, “What” and “Where” – or in other words, what role they’re looking for and in which location. Based on their search criteria, they’ll then be matched with job postings that are most relevant to them.
While you’ll always want to appear in as many relevant search results as possible, this doesn’t guarantee that job seekers will click on – or apply for – your job. To entice people to click on your job posting, optimize your job title and create a description that is compelling, interesting and relevant.
Optimizing your job titles
Most people will search for a position based on the job title, so it’s imperative to get this right. To rank higher in job seekers’ search results and receive more clicks, create a title that is detailed, straightforward and concise.
Put yourself in a job seeker’s shoes and ask yourself, “What would a qualified candidate search for?”
A job title should encapsulate the main aspect of the role, without using internal jargon, acronyms or ambiguous terms. For example, a job seeker with social media expertise is more likely to enter “Social Media Specialist” in the search box as opposed to “Social Media II” or “Social Media Wizard,” which leads us to the next tip…
Yes, wacky job titles can be fun – but they are also confusing
While it might be every employer’s dream to hire a candidate who will perform their job with near-magical abilities, you should avoid using buzzwords such as “wizard,” “ninja,” “Jedi” and “guru.”
Wacky job titles may catch the attention of some job seekers, but they can lead to confusion about the role and requirements, and the ambiguity can deter qualified candidates from applying to the position.
In fact, according to one recent survey, 66% of young job seekers didn’t apply to a job because they didn’t understand what they were applying to.
To avoid unintentionally shrinking your pool of candidates, keep your titles simple and to the point, with as little room for interpretation as possible. And always think back to your job search fundamentals – although quirky titles might be indicative of a company’s culture, most people’s first instinct is to search based on their skills or desired role.
Need help determining which job titles or popular search terms to include? Visit Indeed Job Category Trends, a free tool showcasing what titles and search terms are receiving the most clicks.
For example, if you are looking to fill a sales position, Indeed Trends will tell you which titles and search terms are the most popular in this field. For instance, “Sales Associate,” “Sales Representative” and “Account Manager” are the most clicked sales job titles, while “sales,” “sales associate” and “retail” are the most popular search terms.
Create a description that connects with job seekers
By this point, your job posting has appeared in the job seeker’s search results and due to a well-crafted title, they have clicked on your posting for more information. Now it’s time to sell them on the opportunity and entice them to take the final plunge and apply for the role.
The key to writing a job description is finding a healthy balance between concise and descriptive. You want to provide the fundamental aspects of the role, so candidates know exactly what it entails. According to Indeed data, job postings with between 700 and 2,000 characters get up to 30% more applicants than other job postings.
To help connect with job seekers, write your description in the second person. Refer to job seekers as “you” and avoid terms such as “we” and “our.” Talking to job seekers instead of at them will allow them to envision themselves in that role.
Use the 3 R’s as your rule of thumb
Finally, to help direct the layout of your description, always include the three R’s – responsibilities, requirements, and rewards.
- Responsibilities: Provide details about the new hire’s goals and day-to-day tasks. If you know that the job is 50% social media, 10% writing and 20% administrative, outline this in the description. This will help attract candidates with these interest and skills.
- Requirements: Be specific about the required experience, qualifications and certifications. It’s important to be transparent about the must-have skills versus the nice-to-have skills. Job seekers don’t want to waste time on jobs that they are unqualified for. If they know they can’t fulfill the requirements, they are more likely to self-disqualify, which will, in turn, reduce the amount of time you spend sorting through unqualified candidates.
- Rewards: This is the chance to show off your company’s style, culture, and perks. List all aspects of the company or role that you think is a draw to candidates, for example, a great pension plan, flexible work hours or an on-site gym.
Writing a great job description may be time-consuming, but it’s worth it. When done correctly, it will accurately communicate all aspects of the job and attract the right candidates for the role. This will not only save you a lot of time – and trouble – but it will also bring you better hires. And isn’t that what we all want?