6 Tips for Writing Magnetic Job Descriptions
There are over 16 million jobs listed on Indeed alone. How can your company’s job listing hope to compete in a market where the majority of posts don’t even get read? In our experience, we’ve found that these six tips encompass pretty much everything a company needs to write magnetic job descriptions.
1. Include the Basics
Any quality job description should include, at the minimum, the basic data that candidates need to assess the opportunity:
- Explanation of job duties and responsibilities
- A spotlight on the core value offered by the company
- Explanation of benefits to the candidate
- How the organization defines success
- How a top performer in the role will look
In truth, everything else is extra. If you lock down these five basic components, you’ll already be better off than 90 percent of the companies out there.
2. Be Honest
You’re not doing anyone any favors by misrepresenting the job in your posting. Will candidates be expected to field hundreds of phone calls every month? Will they be expected to work late hours? Companies should be upfront about these issues. It can be tempting to “market” the job and downplay its drawbacks, but this is a fast path to turnover.
3. Show, Don’t Tell
Listing the job’s benefits is fine, but why not take it a step further? Try to paint a picture of the position by fleshing out the details and providing a “day in the life” perspective. Walk them through the day-to-day workflows, review how the role functions within the organization, and detail who they’ll be speaking with each day. This will help them visualize the job and how they’ll fit in your team.
4. Use Formatting to Your Advantage
This one’s a given for savvy recruiters, so why do so many companies completely forgo it in their job postings? Every publication needs to formatted properly, including unique subheadings for each section, bulleted lists (where appropriate), and generous use of white space to break up text blocks.
Formatting is important for aesthetics, but also for the UX of those browsing on mobile. LinkedIn stated that as early as 2014, they saw nearly 1.5 million mobile visitors each day. Formatting for readability is crucial for capturing these viewers.
5. Find the Sweet Spot
The best job descriptions strike a balance between descriptiveness and brevity, and most job postings fail at this outright. They’ll either overload the page with extraneous details or they’ll be stingy with the details and leave readers confused.
Generally speaking, you should aim for posts between 700 and 1,500 words. This is plenty of space to describe the job without going overboard. Readers skim listings as a matter of course, and few candidates are interested in reading long-winded diatribes about a company’s history before they enter the pipeline. Remember, your goal is to sell the job—provide enough information to entice readers and hold off on the rest.
Recruiters around the world need to relax! Job postings shouldn’t be written like dry legal documents or boring grant applications. Instead, write the post as if you were explaining the job to a friend. Keep sentences short, conversational, and personal, especially if you’re a startup or small business with a laid-back company culture.
Keep Jobs Focused on the Candidates
Above all, companies need to keep their listings focused on the candidates. Don’t talk about your corporate vision, talk about why the reader should care about that vision. This single piece of advice encapsulates the entire philosophy of how to write good job postings—and is a mindset that outsourced recruiting firms like Urgenci can help you master. Contact us for an assessment of your recruiting practices.