Mastering the Art of Effective Job Descriptions

Mastering the Art of Effective Job Descriptions

In the increasingly competitive and dynamic realm of talent acquisition, the job description stands as the initial handshake between your organization and potential candidates. Beyond listing responsibilities and qualifications, it serves as a powerful tool to entice, engage, and connect with prospective talent. Let’s dive into seven key elements to writing effective job descriptions that go beyond the ordinary and resonate with candidates on a deeper level.

  1. Create a Vision for Candidates: Job descriptions often fall into the trap of simply listing requirements and responsibilities. Instead, envision the job description as an invitation to a potential career journey. Go beyond the basics and paint a vivid and authentic picture of the role, the team, and the impact it has on the organization. Communicate the organization’s employment culture and back it up with proof points such as employee stories, awards you’ve won, or unique ways the organization provides for team members.
  2. Speak the Candidate’s Language: Avoid industry jargon and internal language that might be confusing to candidates. Use clear, straightforward language that resonates with your target audience. Imagine you are explaining the role to someone outside your industry. This ensures accessibility and feels more inclusive.
  3. Table Stakes: Salary, Benefits, and Hours: While these are essential components, don’t merely treat them as checkmarks. Present them as value propositions. Clearly outline the competitive salary, comprehensive benefits, and flexible work hours, emphasizing your commitment to supporting work/life balance. With new laws coming online, accurate salary ranges are becoming mandatory requirements.
  4. Go Beyond Incentives: Distinguish your job description by showcasing additional perks. Highlight how candidates will be able to make a difference, as well as sign-on bonuses, remote or hybrid work opportunities, and any unique quality-of-life offerings. These incentives not only attract attention but also convey a commitment to employee well-being.
  5. Embrace Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB): Incorporate DEIB content into your job descriptions. Highlight your organization’s genuine commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. Showcase ongoing initiatives, programs, and support networks that contribute to creating a sense of belonging for every employee.
  6. Remote and Hybrid Opportunities: In today’s evolving work landscape, remote and hybrid work options have become expected. Clearly communicate your organization’s stance on these possibilities, providing transparency and flexibility that resonate with the modern workforce.
  7. Tell a Story: Go beyond the bullet points. Use storytelling techniques to create an engaging narrative about the role and your company culture. Do you have employee testimonials? Share them so prospective employees can hear from individuals with whom they can relate. Help candidates visualize their place within your organization with video job descriptions that are not overly polished and produced to foster a sense of connection and belonging.

By going beyond the basics, speaking the candidate’s language, and showcasing the unique aspects of your organization, you transform a routine task into a powerful tool for talent attraction and engagement. In a world where talent is sought after, the job description becomes your first chance to stand out, make an impression, and cultivate meaningful connections.

Your Careers Site and the Art of a Great First Impression

Building Better Careers Sites

A careers site is vital to a quality candidate experience. As we established in our previous post, Harnessing SEO and SEM to Showcase Your Job Opportunities, most referral sources will push candidates directly to a job description. If that description is coming from your ATS, those candidates will miss any employment brand messaging, benefits info, and hiring events you have added to a careers section on your main site.

Job Description Pages That Convert

Since most candidates will enter through a job description page, it is vital that you put everything they might need right at their fingertips right from the start. How can a single page promote your entire employment value proposition (EVP)? Since there are limitless ways to improve on the standard ATS job description, here are some things AB&C includes on our clients’ job description pages in our HireControl career sites:

  • A well-crafted job description that helps the candidate see themselves working for your organization (more on this in our next blog post).
  • Easy Apply. Since we know that most candidates search on mobile devices and that a full application through the ATS is cumbersome on mobile (to say the least), give them an alternative, quick and easy way to express their interest.
  • Promote relevant hiring events. Rather than hoping candidates will discover an event in their field, promote it right here where you know they will see it. But it must be relevant—don’t clutter the page with content that doesn’t directly relate to the opportunity.
  • Contact info and a headshot for the recruiter who owns this requisition. While it may not be ideal for every organization, candidates want to know their application will be reviewed by a real person, not some soulless algorithm.
  • Similar opportunities. Now you have them on your site. If the job they landed on wasn’t their dream job, you want to keep them from clicking the back button to another site that also includes your competition. Feeding a list of other options and providing an on-page search helps entice them to begin exploring the rest of your careers site.
  • What sets you apart? Bring your EVP to life. Include videos or blogs of employee stories. Highlight sign-on bonuses, remote/hybrid opportunities, awards, DEIB initiatives, unique benefits, and anything else that might get them to hit that Apply button.

Campaign Landing Pages

Maximize the ROI of your online marketing campaigns by targeting job categories instead of specific positions. In this case, we know that everyone who clicks one of your ads will definitely wind up here. This allows you to develop more content related to the EVP for your organization and how it relates specifically to someone interested in the job category targeted by the campaign. The types of content outlined on the job details page section make great thought starters for what should appear here.

Other campaigns to consider for landing pages could include relocation efforts, expansion/new buildings, military outreach, and many more.

This landing page should have a general contact form to express interest to a recruiter, as well as a feed of all relevant jobs from the ATS, so the candidate can explore to find which opportunity is right for them.

Other Benefits of an Information-Rich Careers Site

  • Manage events. Add events to your site with details and registration info. Promote them on specific relevant job detail pages.
  • Working Here/Meet the Team. Create a section of the site where candidates can see some of their future coworkers and get a feel for your corporate culture.
  • Benefits. From medical coverage to work/life balance, let them know what you have beyond basic compensation that makes your offering special.
  • Quality of life. Especially if you are recruiting from other geographies, let candidates know what your area(s) have to offer.
  • Talent community. Be sure to capture candidates that don’t see the right job for them on your current list.
  • Application process. Job seekers want to know what to expect next after their application is submitted.

Redefining Recruitment: Harnessing SEO and SEM to Showcase Your Job Opportunities

Redefining Recruitment: Harnessing SEO and SEM to Showcase Your Job Opportunities

As much as we all wish candidates would come to your main consumer-facing website to learn about your employment value proposition, compensation, benefits, hiring events, and application process before looking through your available positions and selecting the most suitable one, statistics indicate that 70% start with Google followed by Indeed and the other job boards.

Knowing that, we can develop a strategy to make the most of that experience by ensuring your jobs show up in those results. Your digital strategy should incorporate search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) tactics. Here is a primer on both:


Google/Microsoft Ads

The quickest guaranteed way to show up at the top of the search engine results pages (SERP) is advertising. While not the least expensive option, it will get your jobs in front of active job searchers immediately. A great tactic is to advertise job categories rather than specific positions. Driving traffic to a well-crafted landing page for a category gives you an opportunity to help candidates see how they can fit into your organization while improving your quality score.

The search engines want to be sure they are delivering what the individual really wants. They weigh your ad’s relevance, clickthrough rate, and landing page experience to create a quality score. Higher scores lead to lower costs and better ad placement. Focus on relevance and user experience to boost your quality score.

Even if you are paying for placement, they want to be sure your ad drives people to relevant content. For example, if your ad is for red shoes, it had better link to a page about red shoes that engages people to prove relevance. We’ll dig deeper into creating compelling landing pages in the next article of this series.


Google/Bing Jobs

Google and Bing have both developed convenient job tools that allow job seekers to find an up-to-the-minute list of jobs right in the search engine results page. These tools serve relevant results for each individual from your sites like your careers site and job boards. Ranking in these job tools relies on an algorithm similar to the rest of their search results. Following are two tactics that will help ensure your jobs show in these sections of the SERPs.

The Importance of Structured Data has defined a format called “structured data” for job listings that aids search engines in comprehending and displaying employment-related content more effectively. This structure contains relevant details about the job, such as the title, employer, location, kind of work, pay scale, and application materials. Using structured data to ensure that your jobs comply with standards is a part of any SEO strategy that will improve the visibility and depth of job ads in search results.

Feeds to Job Boards

Despite all your best SEO efforts, some of the job boards’ authority scores might be too high for your careers site to overcome. That’s the reason part two of an omnichannel SEO strategy is to take control of how your jobs appear on job boards. By default, job aggregators such as Indeed scrape your ATS, which sounds great at first blush. But this creates a less-than-ideal candidate experience. When a job seeker who finds your job on one of the job boards and clicks through to apply on a generic job description within your ATS, they miss out on almost everything you have to say about your organization that might convince them to choose you over the competition.

How AB&C solves this is a bit involved, but well worth the effort. It begins by setting up a careers website that serves a feed of live jobs from your ATS. From there, you’ll want to make sure your careers site becomes the official source of truth for any job board showing your listings.

You’ll need to reach out to them to set up a properly formatted feed of your jobs in the format they require. Some may simply start scraping content from your careers site instead of the ATS once they know it is now the official source of truth. However, to have the most control over the candidate pathway, you’ll want to provide them with a feed that incorporates the structured data and any other content that helps separate you from other choices a candidate might be considering.

Bonus points for your efforts to control the outbound feed to job boards. When a candidate clicks to apply from a job description, they wind up on a fully optimized job details page on your careers site instead of directly in the ATS.

We will get into full details on how to optimize job details in upcoming blog posts in this series. Sign up now to get an email when our next post about how to make the most of that experience goes live.

Redefining Recruitment: Crafting an Online Candidate Experience That Converts

A woman using her cell phone.

While a bad candidate experience might cause to a candidate to quit your hiring process entirely or hurt your employer brand with a negative review on Glassdoor, a great candidate experience can help you turn your top prospects into hires. 

So, what can you do to create a great experience that helps your organization stand out from the competition? Our Redefining Recruitment series will provide answers in the coming weeks through blog posts focused on how to: 

1. Harness SEO to Showcase Your Job Opportunities 

People can’t apply to jobs they can’t find. 70% of all job searches start with Google—150 million of them every month. And Indeed can still boast that it reaches nearly 93% of online active US job seekers. Structured data and properly formatted feeds are the key to helping these sites find and properly identify your content. 

2. Create a Compelling Careers Site 

A careers site is vital to a quality candidate experience. Most referral sources will push prospects directly to a job description. If that description is coming from your ATS, those candidates will miss any employment brand messaging, benefits info, and hiring events you have invested in for your careers site. From delivering the right first impression to content that authentically presents insights candidates seek before they convert to applicants, we’ll outline the must-haves for creating a compelling careers site. 

3. Master the Art of Effective Job Descriptions 

Go beyond the requirements and internal jargon. Help the prospects see themselves in a career with your organization. You can also use the job description as a filter to connect with the talent you want and dissuade those you don’t. Salary, benefits, and hours are table stakes that should be included in all job descriptions. Stand out by highlighting sign-on bonuses, remote/hybrid opportunities, and quality of life and DEIB content and, most of all, differentiating your organization from the competition. 

4. Simplify the Application Process 

Have you tried applying for a job through your ATS? If so, was it on a mobile device? Most job seekers conduct their searches on a handheld device. If your ATS application process is long and involved, consider an alternative call to action where candidates, especially those for your harder-to fill-positions, can express their interest quickly and connect with a recruiter who can take it from there to guide them through the next steps.  

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