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How to craft job descriptions that attract top talent

Mike Patterson
Managing Executive:
talentCRU | DAV | Kelly
4 mins

Often, we think talent acquisition is synonymous with recruitment, when in fact, most of the time, talent acquisition is all about rejection – wading through hundreds of CVs, interviewing dozens of candidates and rejecting all of them except (if the process has gone well), one, whom you hire.


It’s an enormous waste of time and resources, not to mention the fact that the person who was hired might not even be the right fit for the job – they were just the best candidate in the pool.


The solution is refocusing on recruitment over rejection, which requires starting with the best applicants. And the way to do that is through crafting better job descriptions, giving top talent the information and tools they need to select roles (and employers) that suit their skills, experience and culture fit – saving everyone time and energy.


Here are 5 ways to craft better job descriptions


1. Start with a company summary

A company summary within a job description is not a copy and paste of the ‘about us’ section on your website. It should be a compelling summary that lets the candidate know:

  • What the business does
  • Who your clients are
  • The challenges you are solving
  • Your company’s purpose
  • And then links all of the above to the job role


The goal is to show candidates how they will bring your purpose to the world, making a difference and adding meaning to your customers’ lives.


Top tip: By summarising your company in a way that resonates with your ideal candidate, you’ve set the scene to be able to address the role’s requirements, challenges, and benefits in such a way that the right candidates apply for the position because your values align.


2. List clear and realistic job requirements

Many job descriptions fall short because the job role has not been adequately fleshed out. The key is to find the balance between outlining exactly what the role entails without including trivial prerequisites. The candidate should understand exactly what will be required of them, which skills and past experiences they will be leveraging and where the growth opportunities lie.


It’s important to note that this is about the job – not the candidate. Don’t focus on qualifications or the experience you are looking for. Instead, unpack what the job entails and the right candidates will recognise themselves and their skillsets in the description.


Top tip: If you are replacing an individual who has been promoted, is retiring or has resigned, work with them to capture everything their role entailed before the leave. Include their colleagues and even clients in the job scoping so that you can find the ideal fit for the position.


3. Highlight the challenges

This may sound counter-intuitive, but there are a number of reasons for highlighting the challenges of a role, starting with the fact that top talent loves a good challenge. Yes, you will scare a few candidates away. This is a good thing. You want people who are not afraid to confront their fears. 


If you show candidates the realities of what they will encounter in the role, you’ll begin with a better selection of talent, but you’ll also be equipping your hire with the best tools to succeed because they know what is required of them and are prepared from the moment they join your organisation.


Top tip: Start with your current employees. What fears did they have before they joined your company? What were the unexpected challenges they faced once they began their roles? What was the toughest lesson they’ve learnt? A great way to find these golden nuggets is to ask them how they would convince someone not to apply for the role. 


4. Highlight the benefits and rewards

Of course, you never want to only talk about the negatives of a role. Yes, you want to dissuade unqualified candidates from applying, but the ultimate goal is to attract people to your company and the position.


If you’ve crafted a great company summary upfront, you’ve already alluded to the rewards of living a purpose and making a difference, and now you can extend this through the benefits of the position itself. This is about much more than a salary. Today, benefits include flexibility, how the company supports work life balance, the career growth available and if there are retirement or medical benefits.


Top tip: To place the candidate in the position, paint a picture of what it looks like to thrive within your organisation. Ask current employees what they love most about working there and what their proudest achievements are and use these to give your ideal candidates a sense of what their lives will be like once they join your business. 


5. Ensure the right candidates are finding your job descriptions

This is a technical element that comes down to optimised keywords. Search engines use search engine optimisation (SEO) to ensure that users find the information they are looking for. If a candidate is Googling specific keywords to find a job role, your job description must include these keywords or they will not find your listing. SEO is therefore a critical tool in the recruitment process, but it comes down to understanding your candidate: what is their experience level? How do they explain what they do? What words are they using? The better your understanding of your candidate, the more likely you are to create a job description that speaks directly to them.


Top tip: Don’t use fun and ‘fancy’ language. You can inject your company’s personality into your company summary, but don’t use internal language that doesn’t match what the job’s role is. For example, a content marketing position should be exactly that – you are not looking for an ‘audience crafter’ or ‘grammar ninja’.


Pulling it all together

If you are struggling to find the right candidates or find that your new hires are a mismatch to your organisation or their job roles, it could be time to relook how your entire recruitment process begins, which is with your job roles. The best hires are attracted through excellent and well crafted job descriptions. 

Learn more about D. A. V. By Adcorp today!


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Managing Executive:
talentCRU | DAV | Kelly

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