Hiring and Recruiting

Optimizing job descriptions to attract top contingent talent

By Procom

writing job descriptions

The war for talent is more competitive now than it was when the baby boomer generation left the workforce. With today’s low unemployment rates and high vacancies, candidates have the upper hand in choosing where and how they want to work, and organizations need to update their current recruitment strategies to reflect this environment-- if they want to attract skilled workers. 

HireRight’s recent study of over 6,000 HR professionals reports 66% of responding organizations listed finding qualified candidates as their greatest recruitment challenge of 2018.

But where and how do you start your search for top talent?

Crafting compelling job descriptions is your organization’s first step in marketing your company to a future hire, and you may need to re-think the way you’re interacting with job seekers.

Here are six things to think about when writing your job descriptions to attract the types of talent you want:

1. Candidate experience

Unless your organization is a household name like Pepsi or Apple, chances are that when a job seeker clicks on your job posting, it’s their first time interacting with your brand. And you want to make a good first impression. Pique their interest by highlighting the “personality of your company.” In the opening paragraph, list the benefits of working for your organization and highlight the corporate culture. Do you offer flexible work hours? Free Starbucks? Are you working with cutting-edge technologies? Are there professional development opportunities or meetups? It’s important to gain interest right from the start or risk losing that resource to another opportunity.


2. Details

A recent survey reveals that 58% of job seekers had a negative application experience with job descriptions that lacked details about the company and/or position. Along with listing the must haves and nice to have skills, industry experience and desired level of education, you’ll also want to describe day-to-day responsibilities, start date, the length of the project and indicate how their work will impact the organization. The same study finds that 59% of job seekers will have a negative experience with job descriptions that lack salary/rate information.


3. Length - keep it concise! 

An effective job description will find the balance between providing enough details about the role and company, while being kept to a minimum. Indeed reports that job descriptions that are kept between 700 and 2,000 characters receive up to 30% more applications.


4. Including a video

Whether it’s user generated or externally sourced content, video will engage more than text, and can better articulate your corporate brand and work environment. Video job descriptions that include current employees can also provide better insights into the position and what it’s like to work for your organization. Digi-Me finds that video job ads are 53 times more likely to appear on the first page of Google searches and can improve a candidate’s understanding of a job by as much as 300%.


5. Experience inflation 

A misleading job description is a mistake that not only contributes to experience inflation, but also leads to creating a negative candidate experience. For example, a major frustration entry level job seekers encounter is searching for an "entry level" position, clicking on the job description and discovering he or she will actually need 3+ years of experience. Research finds that out of 1,286 entry level labelled jobs, 94% of them were discarded because they required years of previous experience. When creating job descriptions, it’s important to “say what you mean.”


6. Is it mobile responsive?

Smartphones and mobile devices have already disrupted the recruitment process. Today’s job market is primarily made up of younger talent, with millennials expected to account for 35% of the global workforce by 2020—and 78% of them are currently using mobile devices to look for a job. Job descriptions that scale to Smartphones and mobile devices make it easier for your organization to engage with this rising demographic of talent.

Attitudes towards employment have changed, and skilled contingent workers are in high-demand. To attract qualified top talent, organizations need to deliver a top notch candidate experience—starting with their job descriptions. 

Are you considering updating your current talent acquisition strategy? Learn how adding a direct sourcing component will help you connect to qualified candidates faster with our Free Guide: What is Direct Sourcing?

Download now


by Procom

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