A job description, or posting, has always been a fundamental step in hiring. However, with today's talent acquisition challenges, it has become the most critical tool in recruiting top talent.
The competitive hiring market is just one of the many HR trends we see today, and your job ad is your first and best opportunity to reach and connect with the candidates you want to hire. Your prospective candidates make snap decisions based on your ad, and those decisions stick. A poor first impression may cost you the one applicant you really wanted, in what has become an already shallow talent pool.
The bottom line is writing a clear, compelling, and attractive job posting is the first step employers need to take in order to effectively solve recruitment challenges.
What Should Employers Include in a Job Posting?
High-performing candidates look for, four basic components in every job posting, and they often make split-second decisions on whether or not to apply based on those four elements.
Almost every job posting includes the job's responsibilities. Few, however, articulate those duties in a compelling way, and the ones that do are the ones that win the best talent. The best candidates aren't attracted by a list of tasks they'll do in a job. They want to understand how the job connects to the bigger picture.
Every position has a reason as to why it exists. A salesperson is responsible for making sales calls and meeting their quota, but that's not the salesperson's reason for existence. They are there to help the company grow and prosper, to achieve and exceed its revenue and profitability goals, or maybe to open new markets and opportunities.
A software developer writes code, but their reason for existence is to build a product that is as good as it possibly can be, perhaps one that stretches the limits of what technology can do for the end-user.
A job posting shouldn't list every responsibility attached to the advertised position. A compelling job posting paints a broader picture of the work involved and shows how that work fits into the organization's broader goals. That's the kind of posting that will attract the attention of candidates in a hot market for talent.
Highlight Opportunities for Growth
When deciding whether to apply to a new job, the first thing every average job candidate wants to know is the work they'll be doing on day one. High-performing job candidates see their careers as a path, and so one of the first things they want to know is where the position will take them in their career path. Surprisingly, few job postings answer this question, presenting a large opportunity for employers looking to build a long-term, high-performance workforce.
Transparency and honesty are important in this aspect because the goal is to attract applicants whose goals for their future align well with what they could realistically expect working with you. In other words, it should be a good mutual fit.
It is important to remember, however, that not every candidate defines career satisfaction in the same way. For some applicants, it's about upward mobility: climbing steadily up a ladder with rising seniority, titles, and a larger responsibility.
For others, it's more about learning new things and developing their skills. Some applicants are attracted most by a sense of security and stability.
It's important to express the kind of applicant you are looking for so that you can not only attract and retain top talent for your company but attract and retain the right talent for your company.
The Personality of your Company
When putting together a job ad, it is important to convey the personality of the company. The language in your posting conveys your company's personality and culture whether you intend it to or not, so be intentional about it. There are two important considerations here.
The first is authenticity. Some companies fall into the trap of believing they have to appear fun to attract high-performing employees. Different people are attracted to different corporate cultures, and there's no correlation between that preference and their capability. Be who you are, and you will attract candidates who want the kind of culture your company offers.
The second consideration is consistency. If a potential applicant jumps from a job posting to your company's website and social media feeds (which you can be assured smart ones will), they should get a sense of consistency. It should read in the same voice, with the same personality.
This is perhaps the best argument for looking to your marketing staff to write (or at least provide input for) job postings. But surely, job postings are the role of HR, right? Not so. A job ad is more like marketing collateral. The whole point of a job posting is to grab the attention of your target audience, and to inspire them to take action ... just like marketing and advertising.
However, for employers who plan to have their HR create job postings, or perhaps don't have a choice, consider these tips for managing job descriptions.
There is a new HR trend towards more transparency in compensation, and this extends to job postings. This can be unfamiliar and uncomfortable for some hiring managers. In years past, negotiating compensation meant getting the candidate to "blink first". In other words, getting them to state their expectations before knowing whether their salary was in the company's range or not.
Whether required by law or not, there is inherent value in being open on the point of compensation. Strong candidates notice and appreciate that kind of transparency. It signals honesty and openness in regards to company culture, a value increasingly sought-after in employers.
For the hiring company, it also means greater selection. It takes time and effort to put together a solid application, and many candidates simply won't take that time if they don't know whether the compensation is a fit.
If your range is fixed and finite - as in the case of large organizations with a predefined budget for every given position - then there shouldn't be an issue with putting that range in writing.
For positions where the range is more flexible, companies are justifiably concerned that they might limit their options by stating a range, but this is easily dealt with by being equally open about that flexibility.
Final Thoughts on Creating a Job Description
A well-crafted job posting is a powerful tool with the ability to attract the highest number of applications and most importantly, the best-qualified candidates.
If you are struggling to create attractive and compelling job postings, a payroll and HR company may be able to help. To learn more about how Inflection HR has been helping countless companies build a top-performing workforce, contact us today.
Looking for more help on talent acquisition and recruiting, employers may want to consider a cloud-based talent acquisition solution.