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Five tips on writing the perfect job description

It all starts with the job description. A candidates first engagement with a potential new role is through the job description. Finding the best talent for your business can be made a lot easier simply by follow a few simple steps that ensures your job advert engages and excites candidates, encouraging them to complete an application.

There is a fine line between achieving the perfect job description and overloading candidates with information that does not necessarily need to be included. Here we offer five tips on how you can attract the right talent through an effective job description.

A highly searchable job title

When a candidate is searching for a role, they will be on the lookout for job titles that they believe they are qualified for, and therefore will search by this job title in Google or specific job boards. If you post a role with language or acronyms that are specific to the internal structure of the company it may put off external candidates. Candidates will not be familiar with a company’s internal language, so they will not search for this on Google, and you will lose out to the competition who are using highly searchable job titles that appear in top search results.

Job titles should be as concise and specific as possible to ensure they’re targeted to the right audience and avoid any confusion over what the role actually entails.

A job summary that focuses on what is important to the candidate

Keep your job summary to no more than 150 characters. Using just a few brief sentences, you aim is to entice candidates to click through to your job advert and find out more, so it’s important not to waste this on irrelevant information.

Find a way to connect with candidates through the summary, ask a question, give a fact or provide a statement that pushes them to continue reading. Focus on what is important to the candidate!

Line managers may not always have the skill set to create a stirring job summary, so reach out to your marketing team or copywriter for advice on how to best grab attention and interest from a targeted audience.

Keep the job description to the point  

Having a job description that is lengthy, difficult to read or overly complicated can discourage applications. Keep the language simple and avoid any company-specific jargon. However, this description needs to get the candidate excited about the role, so focus on what about the role is going to grab attention.

Candidates want a clear understanding of what your business stands for, where it wants to go and what makes it unique. Job descriptions should start with a clear breakdown of what the company can offer candidates and how its distinctive culture enables employees to grow and develop their careers.

Working for a company with values that align with your own is becoming increasingly important to candidates, so opening with a stand-out company description which includes the organisation’s values can help grab attention and encourage a candidate to continue reading.

Having a job description that is lengthy, difficult to read or overly complicated can discourage applications. Keep the language simple and avoid any company-specific jargon. 


Avoid information overload

Active candidates are busy people applying for various jobs, so to ensure they take in as much information as possible from your job description, keep it brief and easy to skim read. We recommend having roughly 30% of your job advert bullet pointed including four sections; introduction, key responsibilities, key requirements and call to action. This way, your advert is clear and well-structured, easy for candidates to quickly scan and absorb the information you have provided.

By bullet pointing the responsibilities and requirements sections can help candidates quickly assess if they’re right for the role. However, including too many candidate requirements, even if they are only desired qualities, could make candidates feel disqualified from the role, meaning you miss out on the best available talent.

The line manager is generally the best-placed person to ensure a job description is sufficiently descriptive in terms of competences and other requirements of the role, but not every bit of information needs to be included in the job description, some of it can wait until interview stage.

Include salary and company benefits

A candidate will have expectations of what they’d like to get paid. If you don’t give any indication of how the salary is for this position, you risk wasting precious time interviewing candidates who are looking for something more.

If salary will be based on experience, provide a range that can give applicants a better indication of whether the job is the right fit. Some companies will see salary information as a way to help candidates gauge the level of the role, but others will want to avoid such sensitive information from being visible. It also largely depends on the role being advertised and whether you are happy for existing staff to see the going salary for this particular role.

Including salary information can even deter candidates from applying – whether it’s too high or too low – so defer talking about compensation or provide a broad range to attract a broader pool of talent.

Many candidates are now searching for new job opportunities based on the particular perks and benefits of working for a company. This is particularly true for softer benefits such as working for a company that values you, which 25% of candidates consider to be one of their top career priorities. Including these benefits in your job description can be key to increasing number and quality of applications.

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