How to Improve Job Descriptions to Attract Top Talent

on March 12, 2012 in HR and Workforce Tips


Writing Good Job Descriptions To Engage Talent

While a resume is like a one-page ad for an applicant, a job listing is no different. It’s a chance to not only sell the position but to also sell the company as a great place to work for potential talent. Here are 5 steps you can take to ensure your job descriptions look and sound great.

 1. Incorporate Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
For search engine purposes, steer clear of internal jargon and elaborate phrases that job seekers are unlikely searching for. While your company may have a slightly different title for a position – perhaps one that “sounds better” – scratch the pretty name and list the position as generically as possible. Use the description to differentiate the job, not the title. “Guest services” can easily be replaced with “customer service” and will most likely appear in more search results.

2. Make It Look Pretty
In advertising, colors, fonts, and images come into play just as much as the words themselves. And you should follow suit. Length and spacing are the most important players in a job description. Make sure line breaks are used appropriately – no one wants to read a job description that’s a solid block of text. Use bullet points to break up a text-heavy paragraph. Remember – if it’s hard for you to read, it’s hard for the job seeker to read. Keep it clean. If it’s possible, include a stock image or company photo preferably of a smiling face. Readers are drawn to images.

3. Include the Most Important Detail – Pay
What’s the most important detail? Salary. Time is money, and applying for a position takes time. A job seeker needs to know their time spent applying is an investment in the right opportunity for their future. If you can’t give an exact figure, give a ballpark estimate. There are ways to avoid an exact number by using eye-catching phrasing like “competitive salary with bonuses,” but only resort to that if you must.

4. Differentiate Your Company
Each job listing should include a brief description of your company. Instead of using this space for a ho-hum history of the business, use it to show off your strengths. Illustrate your work environment and the unique benefits you offer to your employees. And don’t worry if you don’t offer free meals and an on-site gym. What attracts top talent to a company may surprise you.

5. Write Well
All writing is the same at its core – the stuff that’s good uses correct grammar, is fun to read, and has an emotional appeal. While it can take some time to craft the perfect copy, written descriptions always yield better on-time staffing results so it’s worth the investment. With a little marketing elbow grease and a hook that will grab any job seeker’s attention, you’ll be well on your way to a solid description.

Want even more science backed tips for writing great job descriptions? See Undercover Recruiter’s additional ten tips.

Editors note: the content of this blog was originally written in 2012 and has been updated.