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Verfasst von Julia Warisch

The Do’s and Dont’s of Job Descriptions: How To Successfully Advertise a Job

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In December 2023 the United Kingdom registered approximately 934,000 vacancies.[1] Similarly, the European Union’s job vacancy rate is currently at around 2.6% and despite its downward trend still much higher than in pre-COVID times.[2] For each of these vacancies, companies have published job descriptions to attract suitable talent. To ensure that your job descriptions are effective in competing for the best candidates, we have summarized five do’s and don’ts of job descriptions for you and give you tips on the six essential pieces of information that no job advertisement should be without.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Job Descriptions

DON’T: Write From the Company’s Point of View
DO: Write From the Candidate’s Point of View

The days when job postings effortlessly attracted a flood of applications are over, especially with the current skills shortage. Nowadays, companies are the ones competing to capture the interest of top talent. To effectively draw in these individuals, it’s recommended to approach job descriptions from the potential applicant’s perspective, not the company’s. Imagine what details you would find valuable if you were in the candidate’s position and consider how best to convey this information. By focusing on what suitable candidates are looking for and their objectives, crafting an appealing job description becomes much simpler.

DON’T: Fail to Introduce Your Company
DO: Advertise Your Company as an Employer

Candidates are placing more emphasis on a company’s culture, values, and mission when deciding to apply for a job. A survey by Jobvite found that 23% of applicants would accept a job offer primarily due to the employer’s company culture.[3] When reviewing a job description, candidates aim to discern if their personality aligns with the company’s values. Therefore, it’s essential to incorporate a concise overview of the company, including its services, products, culture, and mission, in every job advertisement. This approach helps attract candidates who are a good cultural fit and more likely to remain with the company over time.

DON’T: Forget to State Tasks for the Role
DO: Mention the Most Important and Frequent Tasks in a Clear Way

Potential candidates require a clear understanding of the advertised job’s tasks and responsibilities to grasp the role’s scope and determine if they should apply. The most effective method to provide this information is by concisely listing the key and most common tasks in bullet points. Precision in wording is crucial in this context. Using bullet points enhances the readability of the advertisement, enabling candidates to quickly make well-informed decisions.

DON’T: Expect Unrealistic Requirements From Candidates
DO: Include Must-Haves and Nice-to-Haves

When setting the criteria for candidates for an open position, managers and recruiters often fall into the trap of seeking an ideal candidate capable of addressing every challenge related to the job. However, the expectation of finding someone who meets all these criteria is largely unrealistic. Such unattainable standards can deter even well-qualified candidates from applying, as they may feel intimidated by the extensive list of requirements. To avoid this issue, it’s recommended to adopt a more realistic approach to defining applicant qualifications. Separating essential requirements from desirable ones can be effective. This involves distinguishing between the non-negotiable skills or experiences needed for the role and those additional qualities or training that would be beneficial but not strictly necessary.

DON’T: Fail to Optimize the Page for Mobile Devices
DO: Use Responsive Design

Smartphones have become increasingly integral to various aspects of our lives, notably in job searching. Statistics reveal that 41% of job seekers utilize their smartphones for job hunting, a trend that continues to grow.[4] This statistic underscores the importance of optimizing job advertisements for mobile devices through responsive design. Responsive design ensures that a website can adjust to and display attractively on screens of any size. This adaptability is crucial in preventing potential candidates from missing or disregarding a job advertisement due to a poor or confusing display on their smartphone screens.

Here’s How to Create an Effective Job Description

After establishing the do’s and don’ts, the next step is to understand the structure of an effective job description. This structure adheres to the well-established AIDA marketing principle. The AIDA model guides the creation of job ads to first capture the potential applicants’ attention (Attract), then spark their interest in the company and the job being advertised (Interest), followed by generating a desire to work for the company (Desire), and finally prompting them with a call to action, which in this context is an invitation to apply for the position (Act).

Your job advertisement should always contain the following information:

Job Title

As mentioned earlier, the job title for the advertised position should be clearly defined and straightforward. It’s advisable to use industry-standard titles rather than creative ones for several reasons. Firstly, familiar titles help potential candidates to immediately understand the role, allowing them to assess if it aligns with their interests and skills. Secondly, job seekers typically use these specific titles as search terms, meaning that advertisements with these exact titles are more likely to appear at the top of search results. Advertisements using related but less precise terms tend to be shown only after those with the exact titles.

Company Information

Potential candidates want to know which company they would be applying to. Hence, crucial information about the company, such as its industry, the products and services it offers, and specific elements of its corporate culture, should be detailed in this section. This gives job seekers an opportunity to get a preliminary understanding of the company’s values.

Job Description

According to a US-based LinkedIn survey, about 90% of candidates consider the description of the open position to be the most crucial part of any job advertisement.[5] Consequently, it’s essential to include a detailed description of the position. This section should contextualize the role within the company, outlining the broader goals for employees in this position and specifying the departments they will collaborate with.

Tasks

In this section, as the title implies, the primary responsibilities associated with the advertised role are detailed. To enhance readability for potential applicants and thereby create a compelling job description, it is recommended to format this section with bullet points. Bullet points are user-friendly because they allow for quick scanning, providing candidates with a clear overview of the job’s main tasks.

Requirements

Naturally, the section outlining the company’s requirements for potential candidates is essential and should not be omitted. These requirements should be presented in bullet points for clarity and ease of reading, avoiding the creation of an unrealistically long list that depicts an ideal but unattainable candidate. As highlighted earlier in this discussion, it’s beneficial to categorize these requirements into “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves,” helping applicants to understand the non-negotiable qualifications versus those that are desirable but not strictly necessary.

Compensation

The US-based LinkedIn survey also reveals that for 89% of candidates, including the salary range in a job description is essential.[5] Furthermore, 91% indicated that having this information significantly influences their decision to apply for a position.[5] Therefore, incorporating a salary range into your job descriptions can have a positive effect on your talent acquisition efforts.

You have your perfect Job Description – what now?

Once your job advertisement is crafted, optimized, and ready for publishing, the next step is to distribute it across all available channels. This includes your company’s website, social media platforms, and various job boards. However, one often overlooked avenue is leveraging the networks of your own employees. Implementing a digital employee referral program, such as Radancy’s Employee Referrals, enables all employees to receive notifications about new job openings, which they can then share within their own networks.
This approach is based on the principle that people with similar values tend to connect, allowing you to attract candidates who are a good cultural fit for your company. A referral from an employee, who is well-acquainted with your company’s culture, further validates the candidate’s suitability. Utilizing this method can expedite the hiring process by up to 30 percent.

Conclusion

A well-crafted job advertisement is key to encouraging top talent to apply for the position you are promoting. To achieve this, ensure your job postings are well-structured, feature appropriate headings, and convey information clearly and thoroughly. By doing so, the advertisement will address any potential questions applicants might have, paving the way for them to submit a fitting application with no obstacles.
Discover how to enhance the reach of your ideal job description to more appropriate candidates by exploring these facts and figures on employee referrals.

Sources

[1] Statista. (2024). Number of job vacancies in the United Kingdom from June 2001 to December 2023. Retrieved on February 13, 2024 from https://www.statista.com/statistics/283771/monthly-job-vacancies-in-the-united-kingdom-uk/

[2] Statista. (2024). Job vacancy rate in the European Union from 1st quarter 2011 to 3rd quarter 2023. Retrieved on February 13, 2024 from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1204172/job-vacancy-rate-in-europe/

[3] Jobvite. (2024). Does Your Company Culture and Mission Matter to Potential Candidates?. Retrieved on February 13, 2024 from https://www.jobvite.com/blog/does-your-company-culture-and-mission-matter-to-potential-candidates/

[4] Smith, Aaron. (2015). Job seeking in the era of smartphones and social media. Retrieved on February 13, 2024 via https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2015/11/19/2-job-seeking-in-the-era-of-smartphones-and-social-media/

[5] Padova, Nino. (2023). This Is Why You Should Include Salary Ranges in Your Job Posts. Retrieved on February 13, 2024 via https://www.linkedin.com/business/talent/blog/talent-acquisition/why-you-should-include-salary-ranges-in-job-posts

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