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Writing Better Job Descriptions to Attract Top Talent

Quick Look: Over the past several years, job seekers have gotten creative with their resumes through eye-catching design, video, and the use of social media to increase their chances of being hired. Yet, many employers’ job descriptions have remained unchanged. While never known to be a top priority, in today’s candidate-driven market, there’s no better time to give them the refresh they might need to grab the attention of top talent.

Job descriptions have evolved past a summary of tasks and responsibilities yet many sit gathering proverbial dust, having been untouched since they were first created. As small- and medium-sized business (SMB) employers stay busy growing strong, thriving businesses, the idea of updating job postings is seemingly non-existent on the priority list.

However, they deserve another look, whether it’s for a quick update or a complete overhaul. Working with a professional HR services team to create engaging and compliant job descriptions will help with attracting qualified candidates and finding the right fit faster.

Not sure where to get started? Here are seven tips to improve your first impression and give people a reason to want to work for your company.

1. Stop the scroll

Most job candidates read the first few sentences, then start skimming the rest of the job description to see if they qualify and are enticed enough to apply. Others will simply scroll on by without a second look. If you want to elicit a full stop and get people actively reading, keep these three things in mind:

  • Make it active. Use active voice and everyday language representative of your company’s brand. Add humor, wit, share impressive accomplishments, whatever best captures the essence of your workplace culture and the role you want to fill.
  • Make it human. Replace every instance of “job candidate” with “you” to cultivate the feeling of a one-to-one conversation. Refrain from using vague catchphrases like “work hard, play hard” and speak directly about what matters most for the role.
  • Make it resonate. Be clear about your mission. Employees seek job opportunities at companies which align with their values and will provide them with a sense of purpose. Make sure you’re able to communicate your company’s values well.

Essentially, in a few opening sentences, say who you are, what you’re about, and why it matters.

2. Remove outdated titles and job perks

Though job titles and descriptions can be playful, jargon like “marketing guru” or “sales beast” have run their course and don’t clearly indicate the job level. These terms were primarily used during the height of the “hustle culture” when foosball tables and a fully stocked kitchen were alluring perks for employees because people were spending more time in the office than not.

It’s safe to say times have changed. While those perks can still be appealing, today’s candidates want benefits promoting a healthy work-life balance, such as mental health care coverage, tuition reimbursement, and flexible work schedules. Working with an HR outsourcing services team can help you reassess and restructure what type of titles and job perks will resonate most with top candidates.

3. Say it on social media

Meet people where they are… which is on social media. While posting job descriptions on the requisite job boards is still valuable, take a creative approach and prepare a TikTok video or Instagram Reel to share on your company’s social media channels.

It’ll encourage organic sharing and referrals and also give potential job candidates a taste of your company culture and personality. In the age of showing rather than telling, it’s a relevant way to connect with today’s workforce in a place where they’re hanging out the most.

4. Be transparent

In addition to outlining the benefits of available job opportunities, don’t be afraid to list challenges as well. Seek feedback from current employees and consider adding a “day in the life” explanation to paint a picture of what the role entails. It promotes transparency and gives job seekers a good idea up front whether or not they feel like they’d be a good fit.

For example, if the role requires a demanding travel schedule, it may not be an ideal match for all candidates. Outlining expectations in advance allows everyone to make informed decisions about whether to continue with the recruiting process. After all, job descriptions aren’t meant to be a bait-and-switch type of moment. Being clear from the get-go limits hiring missteps and disappointments from miscommunication.

5. Focus on skills versus degrees

There’s more than one road to building a career. Some follow a traditional degree or certification path while others may offer varied work experience with a broad skillset. By focusing on a candidate’s performance and skills, you can assess areas where they may translate to what’s needed for the role.

When possible, consider the resume as a whole versus being a stickler for a certain degree or a number of years of industry experience. Survey insights reveal 48% of workers are experiencing career resets and rethinking the kind of roles they want. Though they may be considered “entry-level” due to switching industries, their skillset and work experience are not.

6. List pay range and benefits

There are conflicting opinions about whether to include pay in a job description. However, it’s one of the top factors candidates are looking for when applying for a job. If your budget is fixed within a specific range, share it. The same applies to benefits.

Being straightforward can help both hiring managers and potential candidates avoid wasted time. Furthermore, enlisting the help of professional HR services through ExtensisHR provides the knowledge and expertise necessary to stay competitive and still within your company’s required parameters, while also complying with any necessary state wage transparency laws.

7. Discuss what’s next

When posting job descriptions, include an approximate hiring timeline and next steps. People are often applying for multiple roles at once and may not be able to entertain a drawn-out hiring process. If yours is more in-depth than most, clarify in advance.

Like anything else, great job descriptions are rooted in excellent communication. Start with a job description framework everyone is familiar with, then fill it in with what makes your company unique.

Refresh your recruiting approach with a PEO partner

Part of the challenge with job descriptions is they go stale. Companies grow, roles evolve, so how you talk about them should too. Ideally, evaluate and make adjustments every time you post a new role, although revisiting your job descriptions annually is a good practice. It will put you in a better position to connect with qualified candidates.

Our professional employer organization (PEO) professionals use their experience and expertise to create customized HR solutions for your company and ensure you stay competitive in a rapidly changing workforce. Talent management and recruiting are only the starting point of what we offer. At ExtensisHR, we partner with SMB leaders to provide comprehensive HR services, which also include benefits planning and administration, risk and compliance services, and payroll and tax support. We handle all things HR, so you can fully focus on business growth.

The perfect candidates are waiting to hear from you. A little refresh goes a long way in connecting with them. Contact the experts at ExtensisHR today to get started.

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