HOW TO WRITE EFFECTIVE JOB DESCRIPTIONS

HOW TO WRITE EFFECTIVE JOB DESCRIPTIONS

An effective job description is key to attracting the right talent to your organisation. It’s one of the first touchpoints that potential candidates have with your business, so it has to reflect your business’s values, culture and the role itself. But you also have to be sure that unconscious biases aren’t creeping in and narrowing your talent pool before you’ve even started.

So without further ado – here are Caraffi’s top tips for helping you to craft the most effective job descriptions:

THE TITLE

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increase in "Ninja" job titles between 2017 and 2018

There was a 90% increase in “ninja” job titles between 2017 and 2018. While you may think that recruiting for “ninjas”, “rockstars” and “wizards” may be a great way of showcasing your relaxed and casual company culture, according to research conducted by Indeed, it actually hampers your hiring efforts.

This is because, when people are searching for jobs, they’re not searching for words like “ninja” – unless of course, they’re looking to pursue a career in martial arts. Instead, most people will use search terms that are relevant to their skills and experience, so ensure that you are using industry standard terminology in your job titles.

THE OVERVIEW

You should start your job description with an overview of your organisation and the role you’re trying to fill. Start by outlining who you are and what you do. Then talk about where you’re going, your vision for the future. Now, tell your new potential employee where this role fits into this vision.

So, if they’re going to be in your digital marketing team, then tell them about some your vision for your online presence. If they’re going to be an Account Manager, then tell them about your client base and some upcoming projects they might work on.

You should also try and use invitational language in this section. 

Top Tip!

According to job ad guidelines from the National Centre for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), using phrases like “come join a team of [job function] dedicated to [company mission]” is particularly effective.

THE JOB

Now it’s time to go into detail about what this role entails. Whilst you want to give a good overview of the day to day, don’t get bogged down in the details. Make sure you incorporate some information about development and career progression. People want to know that this is a role they can stay in.

Also, try and avoid jargon, internal company language and technology descriptions that might not be clear to those outside your organisation. This will put off candidates who feel like they’re not qualified even when they are!

THE REQUIREMENTS

Research from NCWIT showed that the requirements section tends to be where unconscious biases creep in most frequently to job descriptions. However, here are some easy fixes to ensure that you’re speaking to as broad a talent pool as possible.

Firstly, don’t use hyper masculine or feminine language. A research paper called Evidence That Gendered Wording in Job Advertisements Exists and Sustains Gender Inequality, found that some words such as “assertive” and “driven” are masculine-coded and discourage female applicants.

Top Tip!

Try and avoid superlatives and extremely hyperbolic language, which can put off female and BAME applicants. Phrases such as “best of the best”, “worldclass” and “unparalleled” will deter those who have been socialised against self promotion.

Similarly, a long list of essential requirements will also shrink your potential talent pool. Make sure that the skills and experience that you list as essential are actually essential to the role. Talk to the team hiring this role to get a good understanding of the skillset that’s required.

THE PERKS

So you’ve outlined what you need potential applicants to do for you, now it’s time for you to show what you can do for them. You should use this section to outline your company culture, and show off your USPs. A recent Glassdoor report showed that corporate culture is more important to job seekers than a great salary, so it’s important to show it off in your job descriptions.

THE CALL TO ACTION

Try and create a sense of urgency in your call to action. It’s a tried and tested marketing technique which always helps encourage more conversions. It’s the reason all DFS sales MUST END SOON! Adding an application close date to your descriptions is a quick and easy way to do this.

Lastly, people want to know that when they take the time to craft a CV and a cover letter to apply for this job that it will be seen by an actual person and won’t end up in the application black hole. Including a specific e-mail address instead of a generic email for an inbox that no one can remember the password to shows applicants that their efforts will be seen, making them more likely to apply.

EMILY TATHAM

EMILY TATHAM

Emily has created global social recruiting campaigns in which brilliant, attractive job descriptions are essential. If you're looking for JD feedback then don't hesitate to get in touch!

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