The quality of your job description has a direct impact on the quality of applicants that come through the door. Not only will the description influence the number of people that apply, but it can also be used to filter for the right kind of applicants with the right skills you need.
If you want to boost the performance of your workforce, then you need to start by improving the job descriptions. Here are seven useful tips for writing descriptions that will appeal to modern job seekers:
1. Choose the Right Job Title
When job seekers search for jobs online, they’ll typically use specific keywords related to the job or industry they’re interested in. Try to incorporate the keywords that applicants are most likely to search for to increase the chance that your posting will show up in their search results. If you’re not sure what to call the position, look at the job titles that other companies in your general industry use. And be careful to avoid using unusual descriptors like “wizard” or “guru.” Not only will job seekers rarely search for “guru” jobs, there’s also increasing evidence that these words might actively discourage female applicants.
2. Be Descriptive, But Also Concise
It’s important to list responsibilities, qualifications and desired years of experience. But too much information can be distracting and drive people away. Most job seekers will spend less than 50 seconds skimming the posting before deciding if they should apply. Consider this time limit when you are writing and formatting the description. And while the length of a successful job posting varies from industry to industry, evidence suggests that job descriptions under 750 words are usually the most successful at getting people to apply.
3. Showcase Company Culture
Today’s job seekers look at company culture as a priority, so they often skim the description for an insight into the culture. Be upfront about the culture by writing job descriptions to match. It doesn’t matter if your company culture is fun and relaxed or a little more serious, as long as you communicate the right tone in the description. This increases the likelihood that you can connect with applicants who will be a good fit for the team. If you have one, you can also link to your company’s “Careers” page, which provides an opportunity to post photos of your team at company events or group outings.
4. Sell Your Company
Selling your company goes beyond just the company culture. In every job description, include details about employee benefits, especially if you offer anything unique (such as flex hours or a generous PTO offering). It can be helpful to include an “About Us” paragraph within the job description to showcase how your company is unique in the industry and why an applicant should want to work there. And if your company offers opportunities for career growth, make sure to mention that those opportunities exist – 87% of millennials list professional development opportunities as “very important” in a job, so mentioning this can up the appeal of your job description.
5. Make it Mobile-Friendly
An estimated 45% of job seekers use mobile devices in their job search. If someone is searching on their phone or tablet, they won’t have the patience to thumb through a description that is difficult to read because of poor formatting. Use a mobile-friendly platform to ensure the information is visible on every screen size.
6. Maintain Gender Neutrality
Certain elements in a job posting could be contributing to a gender gap problem in your company. Watch your pronouns, and avoid using words that imply male or female traits. For example, “support” and “collaborate” tend to be words that attract female applicants, while “determine” and “analyze” attract male applicants. Consider adding a short statement at the end of the description to show your commitment to diversity and equality in the workplace.
7. Focus on Readability
Most people won’t read the description word for word, at least at first. Instead, they’ll skim the content to look for highlights or key points. Make the description easy to read by breaking up the content into short paragraphs and including bullet points. Use italics, bold, and underline for points that need to be emphasized.
Writing a good job description doesn’t have to be difficult, but a little extra effort goes a long way. These tips provide some first steps for attracting the right people for your team.