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Ensure a Positive Candidate Experience When Hiring Contingent Talent Remotely

As digitization, coupled with the global pandemic, propels contingent hiring online and with more individuals relying on employer reviewer sites to evaluate businesses, delivering a positive[...]

March 10, 2021

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Create a Targeted Job Description if You Want Better Candidates

Picture this: You’ve polished your resume, updated your LinkedIn, cleaned up your social media posts, and you’re finally ready to start the hunt for your next career move. You log on to one of the gazillion job boards out there and start searching…and searching…and searching. You can feel your eyes getting heavier with each job description you read. You start thinking: “why do all these jobs sound like huge snoozefests? Should I even bother applying to any of them?” You’re suffering from a case of Job Search Ennui, and it’s not your fault.

This is the reality job seekers face daily. These days, it seems as if most job descriptions are either way too vague or way too long. With more than 3 million job listings on Indeed alone, how can employers stand out from the crowd and attract high-quality candidates? The answer lies in your job description. If done right, your job description can act as both an ad and a filter, attracting a multitude of potential candidates and only allowing the best ones to rise to the top.

Candidate Quantity Vs. Quality – Which Gets Better Results?

You might be tempted to pull in as many resumes as possible. The more sand you shift; the the greater your chances of finding gold nugget, right? Well, maybe if you’re panning. When it comes to job searches, though, that’s not really the case, and a bigger sluice actually ends up costing everyone more time and money. It opens the door for every Tom, Dick, and Harry to apply. HR spends hours on end reading resumes. There’s lots of phone calls and scheduling. Then you have to host first, second, and possibly third interviews. The whole process plays out over the course of several weeks, and by the end of it, everyone is exhausted. Instead, the key is to focus on quality over quantity. How, you ask? Don’t worry; we’re going to tell you.

Treat Your Job Description Like Content Marketing – Because it Kind of Is

Here’s a little-known secret: content is king. Just kidding, everyone knows that. From my perspective, that means that no matter how much technology changes or SEO evolves, content that is honest and relevant will always hold value. We get honesty by being honest (duh), and we achieve relevancy by targeting specific personas. The rules of content are no different than the rules of recruiting, and here’s how you can use them to improve your job descriptions:

  • Consider your ideal employee and the type of information that’s important to them. Is the position flex-time or telecommute? Stay-at-home parents and millennials will likely be your biggest contenders, so make sure you advertise these perks in their vernacular, clearly and throughout the heading and body. Create candidate personas and choose a few keywords that resonate with these particular groups, just as you would with buyers.

  • Speaking of perks; don't forget to brag about your company's benefits. If your company has a diverse and friendly culture, make it known! If you offer excellent pay or a kick-ass 401K, don’t just say “competitive” -- be descriptive and specific! Think about what you can do for your employee, and not just what they can do for you. Your company’s unique benefits will be the major selling points.

  • Find a balance between short-and-sweet and informative. Job descriptions that are too short will leave readers scratching their heads, and ones that are too long will have them fighting off sleep. Surprisingly, job type has a lot to do with the length of the description. A study by The Muse found that social media job descriptions fared better when the word count was limited to less than 750 words, while education and development positions got 2x more clicks with word counts over 750.

  • No matter the word count, make each word count. A targeted job description is your elevator pitch -- your one chance to land the employee of your dreams, so choose your words accordingly. Try to avoid industry buzzwords in job descriptions; they come across as inauthentic and clichéd. Worse, they clog up search fields by adding *yet another* job title to the mix. Job seekers hate having to search fifteen different ways to say “data entry” or “social media specialist.”

  • Break up the big picture into little pieces that are easy to digest. The overview gives candidates insight into your company culture and where it’s going in the future. The smaller components show them how their role fits into this vision and what they, as an employee, will contribute. This includes things like information about the company culture and goals, the day-to-day specifics of the position, and the finer details of the job, like salary and supervisors. Utilize white space to break up the body text, and be sure to follow other content writing best practices.

  • Edit, edit, and edit again. I’m not just talking about editing for grammar and spelling, either - I’m talking about those unrealistic job listings with countless duties and dozens of esoteric requirements. Not only are they exhausting to read; they’re also off-putting. Is it really essential that a potential employee already knows how to use your specific CMS? Probably not. Likely, general knowledge in an area will suffice; the rest can be learned on the job. You might want to team up with someone who works in the department and create a list of must-haves, which you can then use to rule out superfluous content.

Better Job Descriptions + Better Candidate Experiences = Better Hires

Simply put, run-of-the-mill job descriptions just don’t cut it anymore. People are busy these days, and applying for jobs takes a long time. Candidates aren’t going to bother uploading their resume and toiling over a cover letter if the job isn’t enticing in some way. If you want to convert those clicks into buyers -- I mean hires -- you need to craft your targeted job descriptions with care. It’s your chance to be creative! Think about what makes your company’s brand unique, how your ideal employee fits in, and what language you can use to convey this. And for god’s sake, if you can help it, make sure your ATS doesn’t force candidates to upload their resume twice.

Casey Enstrom
Casey Enstrom
Casey is one of the staffing industry’s household names, specializing in sales and operations leadership. He brings extensive knowledge of business development and sales strategies, predictive analytics, leadership, and human capital solutions. Prior to Crowdstaffing, Casey served as the Vice President of Technical Sales, North America, for a Fortune 1000 staffing firm.
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