Best Practices for Writing a Killer Job Description

In such a tight job market, you need to optimize every facet of your recruitment process to attract the best candidates to your roles. Job descriptions are an essential piece of this puzzle. A job description may be a candidate’s first touchpoint with your organization, and first impressions matter.

Your job description needs to be clear, accurately describe the position, communicate your employer brand, and sell the role and your organization as a whole. It’s a tall order and, unfortunately, very few job descriptions check all of these boxes. Whether you lack the time or know-how to create an effective job description from scratch, many hiring managers default to copy-and-paste job descriptions that don’t really capture what makes your roles and organization great.

We’re here to help you optimize your job descriptions by sharing our best beyond-the-basics tips and pointers.

1. Boost your job post’s visibility with SEO.

Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t just for your blog or website. You can use SEO tactics to help your job descriptions rank higher in search results on job boards and search engines. 

For example, you should avoid overly clever job titles like “content ninja” or “accounting rockstar” since most potential candidates aren’t searching for those terms. The same goes for internal lingo – people outside your organization won’t understand it. 

Instead, do an SEO audit to see what job seekers are searching for, what keywords your competitors are ranking for, and what keywords (organic and paid) would help your job posts rank higher. Then, add those terms to your job descriptions to make them more searchable.

2. Make it clear what’s in it for them.

Most job descriptions are very focused on the organization and the role. There tend to be a lot of ‘we’ statements: 

“We’re looking for an ambitious professional to lead our marketing strategy.”

“We’re a fast-growing start-up with a social impact mission.”

“We believe in developing best-in-class products to serve our customers.”

You get the idea. We understand why this happens – you want to present your organization in the best possible light and share what you’re all about. The only problem is that most people – yes, even your candidates – care more about what’s in it for them.  

That’s why you should try employing the “you rule” when writing your job descriptions. Especially in a candidate-driven market, you need to persuade people to take a job just as much as your candidate needs to convince you that they’re the right person for the role. So flip the script and use less ‘we’ and more ‘you’ in your job descriptions. 

We’ll even rewrite the above statements to give you an idea of what we mean:

“You’ll get the chance to lead our marketing strategy.”

“You’ll be joining a fast-growing start-up with a social impact mission.”

“You’ll play a critical role in developing best-in-class products to serve our customers.”

See the difference? Even though they’re saying the same thing, the rewritten statements speak directly to your candidates and highlight what they’ll get out of the role, as opposed to what you’d get from them.

3. Align your job description with current market trends.

Candidate’s wants and needs have changed quite dramatically since the pandemic’s onset. As a result, aspects like employee well-being, work-life balance, flexibility, and DEI are more critical than ever to potential candidates.

Since your job description is often a job seeker’s first interaction with your organization, it’s a great place to share how you address these current market trends. For example, rather than sharing a cookie-cutter DEI statement, you could mention a few of the specific inclusion efforts your company has made in the past year. Likewise, to highlight your commitment to flexibility and work-life balance, you could talk about your company’s hybrid return-to-work plan.

Just keep in mind that this isn’t about pandering to your pipeline, as your candidate’s will quickly figure out if you’re just blowing smoke. You need to be able to authentically speak to these trends and highlight the ones that would be most important to your top candidates. 

4. Have a competitive offer and benefits. 

In such a hot job market, offering someone a job is hardly a guarantee that they will take it. Your best candidates are at the top of your list for a reason, so you should assume that your organization is not the only one interested in them. 

A great job description should help you find the best people and ensure that the best want to choose you too. That’s why, in addition to describing your company and the role itself, your job description should highlight the more competitive aspects of your compensation package, like the salary, benefits, and perks. 

You don’t have to break the bank to compete. While your salary expectations should be fair to the candidate and in line with industry and company standards, pay isn’t everything. Depending on what your candidate values in their career, perks like flexible scheduling, four-day workweeks, 401K/RRSP matching, education reimbursements, or stock options could be the deal breaker. 

5. Develop a top-notch candidate experience. 

What happens after a job seeker clicks ‘apply now’? From submitting an application to receiving a job offer, what’s your hiring experience like? The job description is just the first touchpoint. If your candidate has a negative experience at any point during your hiring process, you could lose them. 

Long, drawn-out hiring processes, poor communication, and a lack of transparency around compensation are just a few factors that can negatively impact your candidate experience and cost you your top people. If you know you have these issues in your hiring process, now’s the time to work on them. 

You don’t get a second chance at a first impression.

So make it a good one. Today’s workers want a lot more from their employers, and your job description is a great way to show them what you have to offer. Is this a lot of pressure? Maybe, but these tips will help you put your best foot forward and attract your next great hire.

Keep in mind that your job descriptions are just one piece of the talent attraction puzzle. If you’re looking for support crafting an Employer Brand that your employees live every day, then you should give us a shout. We’ll help make sure you cover all of your bases with your Employer Brand strategy.

About Us 

Blu Ivy Group is a global leader in employer branding, organizational culture, and recruitment marketing. We help organizations across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors build extraordinary employee experiences, magnetic employer brands, and high-performance cultures.    

From C-Suite to Employer Brand and Talent Acquisition leadership, we partner with our clients to transform their organizations and design the most compelling workplaces of the future. 

For inquiries, please contact sparker@bluivygroup.com. 

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