Are you a Talent acquisition manager who struggles with job descriptions?
Do you manage a recruitment agency and would like to stand out from the competition finding the best matches in the work market?
Does your company have a high attrition rate?
Of course, there could be many reasons for this, but there is one that is easy to fix.
Writing appealing and accurate job descriptions
COPYWRITING TO THE RESCUE
Copywriting is writing texts aimed at an ideal customer conveying the benefits of what you offer and how those benefits will improve the customer’s life.
In this case, the job vacancy is what you offer to a prospect customer: the candidate.
I’m a copywriter specialised in international audiences and I have 8 years’ experience in managerial positions at a multinational company.
During the years I worked as a manager I interviewed at least 90 candidates.
Please, don’t get me wrong, I was not such an awful manager that I had 90 people leaving my team during those 8 years! In fact, I was involved in the recruitment process for other teams as well, since I have a Bachelor’s degree in HR and extensive experience.
Sometimes the interviews didn’t go that well for very diverse reasons, but quite often the main reason was that the candidate hadn’t completely understood the job role and wasn’t, therefore, a good match at all.
I often check on Google for new opportunities for friends or just out of curiosity, and I must say that most of them depress me.
So many companies describe jobs as a kind of torture instead of an interesting opportunity to learn, grow and be part of a great company.
I know what you are thinking, there isn’t so much room for creativity when you have to be true to the nature of the job and the tasks.
Fair enough, but it doesn’t mean you have to describe the job as the most boring thing you could ever do with your time.
I’m sure that very often while you are writing a job description you are also thinking “Oh god, this sounds so boring. I would never do that job”
Exactly, that’s what candidates are thinking too!
True, there are many differences between positions and different personalities, that’s why you have to carry out a throughout research first about what kind of person the hiring manager wants to work with and what exactly that kind of person is looking at when searching for jobs.
Only then can you write the perfect job description.
Writing compelling job descriptions
The opposite of writing boring job descriptions is writing super-duper cool ones that don’t mean anything at all.
I recently read a great article on the Atlantic on how America’s job listings have gone off the deep end. And, you know very well that, we, the rest of the world, copy everything that wears a Made in US label on it.
Using terms such as “data-obsessed, project-juggling digital ninja” or “online warrior” are not going to attract the best talent because, anyways, what do those things even mean?
A job description needs to clearly state what kind of soft and hard skills are necessary to perform the job as well as setting the right expectations to avoid wasting time for both the recruiter and the candidate.
“When you say ‘coding ninja,’ you’re not going to match against ‘java developer.’ If you say ‘spreadsheet guru,’ you’re going to miss the people with ‘Excel expertise.” says Ian Siegel, the CEO of the online job marketplace ZipRecruiter.
SEO plays a big part in matching talent and companies since 70 per cent of résumés submitted via online job listings or uploaded to job boards are going to be screened by algorithms looking for keywords.
My advice here is to apply the Copywriters’ mantra, “don’t try to be too clever with your message and cut the drivel”.
How to find the balance?
Probably you are at this point asking yourself how you can write a job description that is not too boring neither too flamboyant.
That’s a great question.
This is how I see it, you need to describe the position as if you were talking with someone face to face. In a real conversation, you won’t use too many technical terms unless you are 200% sure the other person know what each of them means, neither you would try to sound you are quoting some hip-hop song.
Use words and expressions that everyone can understand and that describe as much as possible what’s required for the job and how is the company culture.
Another counterproductive result of using super-duper cool descriptions is that they seem to be only addressed to very young candidates. However, if you are looking for some specific skills that aren’t easy to find, you shouldn’t restrict your search among exclusively the younger part of the population.
Be that company/recruiter that drives change and start writing real and eloquent job descriptions.
I write web copy and engaging content for businesses without borders. I live in the Netherlands, I write everywhere. I love arthouse films and books that make me think. Tolstoy and Chekhov are my life coaches.