Just like any other content put out by your business, your job descriptions reflect on your company. Not only that, but they’re often also the first opportunity you have to connect with prospective candidates.
So if you want to make a lasting first impression and attract the top talent, crafting a winning job description should be a focal point for your hiring team.
But it’s easier said than done. Today, most job descriptions are presented as a bulk of text on a plain background. They’re clunky, dull, and leave the candidate wanting more.
As the Director of People and Talent at Juro, one of my passions is creating more compelling, interactive, and thoughtful job descriptions for open roles. Below are eight strategies that will help you do the same.
Too many businesses share job postings impulsively without having first done the necessary research to attract the right talent and understand the role.
At Juro, we envisage a job description to be a public version of the discovery done for a particular role, and the process of writing a winning job description begins with having done that discovery well.
To do this, we start with establishing the pain within the business that requires us to hire for the role. We then go on to determine the mission and the specific outcomes of that person. What are they going to strive for and aim to solve at Juro?
From there, you should start conducting some initial research on the role you’re creating a job description for, including: what the role would entail, why someone wants to apply for this role in the first place, and what skills you’re looking for from an ideal candidate.
Once you’ve compiled all of this information, you’ll have the skeleton of a job description which you can develop from there.
Most candidates want the opportunity to do meaningful work in their next role. It’s therefore important to tell people how the work they’d be doing will make a difference.
Every job description should explain why you’re hiring for the role (and it shouldn’t just say that it’s because your team is growing). Hone in on the specific problem you’re experiencing within your company and explain how the person that accepts the role will be positioned to resolve it.
Since hiring is a two-way street, it’s only fair that you communicate effectively where the candidate would fit into the team and how they are set to progress if they achieve the goals set out.
You can do this easily, even for a fairly well-understood role like an Account Executive. For example, instead of just listing the responsibilities off one by one, explain what your ARR target is and why you need more team members to close this revenue.
Job descriptions are the best opportunity to make a first impression on potential candidates, so it’s important to portray your brand in a memorable and authentic way.
This doesn’t just mean adding a logo to your job description page. If you really want to enrich your job description with your company branding, you’ll need to think more consistently about the way you communicate your message.
This can be a challenge when you use most applicant tracking systems and job sites to advertise your roles. That’s why we selected Notion for Juro job descriptions instead, since it allows for rich text formatting and plenty of flexibility.
Once you’ve chosen your platform, ask yourself whether there’s any rich media you want to add, such as team photos or a video introducing the available role in more detail. We even add links to different pages about Juro, like our employee perks and podcasts on which we’ve been featured.
You should also consider how you display the text, and how you’re going to use emojis or bulleting to make the information more accessible at first glance.
At Juro, we consider everything from incorporating the brand colors to sticking closely to the company style guide when describing the role and ideal candidate.
I’m sure this sounds like a lot of work. But once you’ve created a final template it should streamline the process considerably, making it quicker and easier to create consistent and effective job postings that people love.
Even once a potential candidate has read your job description, they may have additional questions. What is the interview process like? How long does it take? What does the ideal candidate look like? Do you support your employees with relocation?
At Juro, we add an entire FAQ section to each job description so prospective candidates can decide early on whether they should pursue the position. Why?
Juro’s career page provides answers to commonly asked questions for complete transparency into our company and expectations.
Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace starts by creating a safe space for candidates, even before they’ve been hired.
Priming your job description for diversity and inclusion encourages talented candidates to apply irrespective of their background, rather than isolating them, which many job descriptions do unconsciously. For example, according to Ongig, “women as a group will apply to jobs at a lower rate when certain masculine words are in the job posting.”
At Juro, we make a conscious effort to combat this. For a start, we use a text diversity tool that assesses the text within your job description and flags any gendered language that might appeal to some candidates and discourage others. So instead of using the word “strong,” we consider alternatives, such as “able, proven, or solid.”
We also make a conscious effort to communicate the current diversity of our team and what we’re striving to achieve in this aspect. To put this into perspective, we add a “meet the team” section to most of our job descriptions where candidates can see who’s in the team already and where they’d fit in.
But communicating this initiative isn’t just about what we’re doing well. We also want to advertise what our future goals are regarding diversity too. We want to show that we’re aware of our challenges and that we’re actively coming up with solutions to solve them. This kind of information should be as readily available as possible to prospective candidates.
Another common mistake when creating a job description is adding too much and making it too generalized.
Many job descriptions talk about how they want to hire someone that’s a team player, results-driven, and a good communicator. But what does that even mean? We’re all those things in some way or another, so these requirements bloat out the content without actually adding any substance.
If you want to find the ideal candidate, you need to be surgically precise about what it is you actually want. This is best achieved by giving more specific examples of the kind of person you’re looking for.
For instance, instead of saying you’re looking for a team player, say you want to hire someone that shares wins and losses with other people on a regular basis. Ideally, you want something people can give concrete examples of, not just generalized responses.
That said, you still need to strike a balance between making your requirements specific and keeping them to a minimum.
Research has found that men tend to apply to a role even if they only hit 60% of the criteria set out, whereas women only tend to apply for a position if they fulfill all of the criteria listed. By adding too many requirements to your job description, you could actually be excluding a lot of talented prospects.
At Juro, we’ve decided to cut out the requirements like qualifications and years of experience where it’s possible to do so. This is because we care about what candidates have done, not how long they’ve been doing it. Below is an example of what requirements may look like.
By removing years of experience, you instead focus on what the candidate has actually done instead of how long they’ve worked in a position.
Unless you’re hiring for a role that relies on these qualifications and years of experience, it’s better to explain what you want a candidate to have achieved in order to qualify them as “senior,” not just the time they’ve spent in the industry. There are so many ways to enter the industry today, and we want to respect this in our job descriptions.
We’ve all read job descriptions with mistakes or that use the wrong tone, and it’s not a good look. If you want candidates to invest their time into your application, you should do the same for your job descriptions.
At Juro, we’re building a product and a company. Yes, they are separate, but they are also closely connected and we want our job descriptions to present our brand effectively.
That’s why all of our job descriptions at Juro go through a proofing process before they’re uploaded. We want them to meet our style guide, convey the hiring goals of the relevant manager, and tie into our wider business strategy.
What many businesses fail to consider is that presenting your brand positively in job descriptions and processes can help to advance your brand before customers. Customers are far more likely to want to partner with a business that’s growing sustainably and delivering a great experience internally as well, as shown by the feedback we receive on our interview processes and job descriptions.
In short: Job descriptions are important. Not only do they encourage candidates to apply for your roles, but they’re also an effective tool for brand building and a great way to gain a competitive edge over other businesses hiring for the same positions.
Most importantly, they’re the start of what could be a lasting relationship between a successful candidate and your business, so you want your first impression to be as positive as possible.
Achieving this comes down to good preparation and paying attention to the details, and this should prevail throughout the hiring process, from job descriptions and HR contracts all the way through to onboarding plans.
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