Writing a job description can often seem like a hurdle between you and your next great hire. In fact, 37% of recruiters would like to spend less time crafting and posting job descriptions, even when it takes up only 11% of their day1.
But job descriptions play a vital role in your search for greatness. With 62%2 of job seekers claiming how well the job description fits in with their skills, qualifications and aspirations as having the most influence on their decision to apply for a role, the moment a candidate views yours can make or break their hiring journey with your company. So it’s important to have a complete and clear job description that attracts and entices qualified candidates to apply.
However, while 72% of recruiters think they provide clear job descriptions, only 36% of job seekers think they are clear*.
Fortunately, your job descriptions are something you often have control over. With these three simple steps, you or your recruitment team can transform your job descriptions to be clear and stand out to the right candidates.
1. Think like a job seeker
Just as many recruiters and hiring managers spend only a few short minutes looking at resumes, people don’t spend much time reading job descriptions either. On average, job seekers spend 49.7 seconds reading job descriptions when it is not a right fit, and 76.7 seconds when it is a right fit**. As a result, what you include in your job descriptions play a huge role as to whether they keep the attention of job seekers.
So what should you include in your job descriptions and how should you format them to help keep qualified candidates engaged with your job ad? Try breaking it up into four clear sections.
The first section should identify the scope of the role and the main responsibilities—what the candidate will be doing on a daily basis. In this section, use language that empowers candidates and helps them see themselves in the role. Next, identify the qualifications and requirements needed to excel in the role—what you want from a candidate. In the third section, list any perks and benefits the company provides that make you stand out. And lastly, provide job seekers with some background information about the company and what it’s like to work there (the company’s culture). But don’t give away everything in the job description, use this section as an opportunity to link to your website, Indeed Company Page or social media accounts.
2. Use data to optimise your job descriptions
When posting a job ad on sites like Indeed, you’ll receive access to in-depth analytics about how it’s performing. After a few days of your job being live, review the data. This can help you understand why your ad may be receiving a lot of applicants, or not enough, and provide indications as to what you might need to change to see better results.
For example, if you’re noticing low impressions or clicks, your job title may need to be revised. If you’ve used internal jargon or trendy terms like “IT Guru” or “Marketing Ninja”, it’s likely your job ad may not even be seen during a candidate’s search. Make sure you’ve used a real job title that people outside of your organisation will understand and gives a clear indication as to what the role involves. It’s also a good idea to research what job titles your competitors are using.
If on the other hand your job ad has low conversions from clicks to applies, your job description may need optimising. Make sure you’ve only included relevant information and key messages that will provide job seekers with insight into what the role will be like. Also, if your job description is really short or too long, it may need to be edited. Indeed data shows that descriptions between 700 and 2,000 characters may receive up to 30% more applications than others3.
3. Share your company’s story
Your job ad is often one of the first touch points job seekers have with your company, so why not use it as an opportunity to tell your company’s story? For many job seekers, your employer brand plays a huge factor in their decision to apply for your role—so sharing information about it in your job descriptions could help influence qualified candidates to apply.
But what kind of information can help tell your company’s story that is relevant to job seekers? Well, when researching a company, 58% of job seekers want to know more about work-life balance and 43% want to know more about the culture—so provide this information in the benefits section of your job description4. Including details about benefits such as Friday drinks, catered lunches, volunteering opportunities, the ability to work remotely, or regular sporting or social activities will give job seekers better insight into your company and help them decide whether they want to apply to the role or not.
Your job description is often what stands between you and your search for great talent. So it’s important to ensure it portrays both your organisation and the role in a positive light, while also attracting qualified candidates. By using these three simple steps the next time you write a job description, you can help connect the right job seekers to your open roles—getting you that much closer to your next great hire.
1Methodology: This research was conducted by Decipher/FocusVision on behalf of Indeed among 1,000 Australian job seekers in 2018.
2Methodology: This research was conducted by Decipher/FocusVision on behalf of Indeed among 500 Australian job seekers between June and July 2016.
3Methodology: Indeed data
4Methodology: This research was conducted by Lonergan Research on behalf of Indeed, among 1,033 Australian job seekers in January 2019.
*Source: TekSystems, “Making the Right Match: The Value of Effective Job Descriptions”
**Source: The Ladders, “Shedding Light on the Job Search”