Monday, November 19, 2007

Why You Should Put Time into Writing a Job Description

Part of what I do is help write job descriptions. I see a lot of jobs from a lot of companies that write very good job descriptions. However, a lot of times I'll see ads like this one:

Now Hiring
Customer Service Positions
Call Today!

With the dozens of other staffing agencies and companies looking to fill the same position out there and what makes you stand out? This as an advertisement says nothing about if this is going to pay me enough, what the work environment or hours are like, what kind of benefits do they offer? Part of my job is to help optimize postings like this one. However, when I do it most the time there will only be very general information about what the job entails or maybe a little bit about the company overview. I can only do so much, but as a recruiter, you know more about the environment, the benefits and reasons why a jobseeker should want to work for your company. So here are some ideas to help you write better job descriptions for your postings on

Getting the Word Out
Before I go into how to attract candidates to apply, let's talk about getting the information to them. Not only does the ad above have no information that will attract the candidate it most likely won't be found by search engines. While tries to partner with various associations, search engines, websites and job boards to maximize your jobs' exposure online, unless you have the content, it's not going to be found by Google or any other search engine.

Joel Cheesman has a great post on how to optimize your job posting content and drive traffic to your job postings. He specifically writes for optimizing for Indeed but the post offers good rules to keep in mind for general online search engine optimization. Not only that but if you post jobs on, they also show up on Indeed.

So now you know that you need content to get your job posting to candidates. So what kind of information should you include that is going to attract the right candidates and get them to choose your company over anyone else?

Getting the Message Across
CareerJournal had an article about Employers Using Plain English to attract candidates. It's not something you always think about but if you think about it, putting things in a way someone will understand gives them a clear idea of what a job is going to entail. For example, this Morris Jenkins posting, instead of saying, "Must have good communication skills" they say that they are looking for someone that has, "a personality that shines through the phone lines and enjoys working with people!" It's just small example but from this statement you now know that you'll be using personality to deal with customers over the phone. Whereas, from the previous statment all you knew is that you'll be communicating.

Getting Jobseekers To Apply
According to Mo Edjlali at ERE there are two things you should focus on when writing a job description: stressing benefits and calling the candidate to action. Use the work environment; if you get donuts or celebrate birthdays use that. Mention overtime pay or wages if they are competitive or advancement opportunities. You might find it surprising what difference little things like recognizing birthdays or if a company really does promote from within. What makes you stand out? What makes your company different?

Take those benefits and paint a picture of how that is going to change their lifestyle for the better. Then call them to action. Give them multiple ways to apply and make it easy. There are several ways you can set up your account to receive applications. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me so that we can discuss these options and what will be best for your hiring situation.

Also check out:
How To Get The Best Response Out Of Your Job Posting
What is that Job Posting Really Saying?

There are tons of other ideas but ultimately the more specific you are in your job posting, the more likely you'll get qualified applicants. If you'd like to add your ideas, please do so in the comments. Or if you have questions about how to optimize your postings or want ideas on how to write a more effective job description, feel free to contact me.

- Rosie Reilman

1 comment:

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