How to write a job description that markets your company

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JD, role profile, job spec, job description, wish list, role summary…. Whatever you choose, they all mean the same thing, and nine times out of ten they contain the same meaningless buzzwords.

According to Wikipedia the definition of a job spec is as follows:

A job specification is a list that a person might use for general tasks, or functions, and responsibilities of a position. It may often include to whom the position reports, requirements such as the qualifications or skills needed by the person in the job, and a salary range.

That sounds pretty dull, right?

I read through hundreds of job specs this month and only one stood out from the crowd. It was punchy, to the point, it sold the company well, the role, the career path etc. It captured my attention.

As a recruiter, I like to develop enticing job specs, but feel constrained by the client’s brief.  Words like ‘proven ability’, ‘track record’, ‘Bachelor’s degree or equivalent required’ and ‘leadership qualities’ aren’t eye-catching.

Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report says 75% of HR managers are struggling to attract and recruit quality employees. Surely then it’s time to start considering what job seekers are looking for when they are searching for a new role? Plus it’s time to consider how you can set yourself apart from the competition. Everyone is looking for their unicorn, needle in a haystack, or left-handed astronaut - so some simple job spec tweaks can really help.

Culture sells

Last week I met a pretty cool digital agency and qualified the role with them face-to-face. Turns out they have an office dog (it’s a Jug who gave us a pretty friendly greeting upon arrival at reception). They also have a beer fridge for Fridays after those goals have been smashed and an amazing project has been delivered.

Not only that, the place is scattered in beanbags, they have day team trips out and have game consoles everywhere AND they were all tucking into ice cream when we arrived on the hottest day of the year! But they didn’t want to put it in the job spec in case they seemed unprofessional! I’m not really a dog person but even I want a job there.

Five top tips for writing a stand-out job description

  1. Make it exciting

Candidates want to be drawn in. Excite them, interest them, and tell them what your company can do for them in return for their 40 hours a week of loyal service.

  1. Don't just list requirements

Top candidates want to understand how a position will influence their careers, what value that business can add (it’s a two-way street), how the role will challenge, progress and add skills to their career. A simple list of requirements will not achieve this.

  1. Make it quick and easy to read

We have everything at the touch of a button, everything in the modern day world is quick and easy. As such, make your job post easy to scan. Many people read job posts on the go, so the majority just skip through and see keywords. According to LinkedIn, 40% of users have its app, so ensure your description is concise and mobile-friendly.

  1. Be open about salary

I read an article a few months ago and it read: “When you don’t disclose salary range on a job posting, a unicorn loses its wings”…. Enough said, it wastes everyone’s time.

  1. Add a call to action

In the body of your job posting, include instructions on how to apply. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right contact person or email address. Combat this by making sure your post contains a specific call to action – “call ABC” or “email your resume to XYZ”. Also, give candidates access to the recruitment team or HR; there are so many companies who do not want to interact with applicants and it can be really off-putting.

If you need help or advice writing your next job spec please call me on 02392 228 285 and I will be happy to advise and help hunt down your next unicorn!