A Marketers Approach to Writing Job Descriptions
Job descriptions are usually the first interaction a potential employee has with a company. It can set the tone for a candidates perception of a company but many times its an afterthought. When writing job descriptions, you have to ask yourself, does it reflect your brand and company culture? Most job postings you read are quite frankly boring and overly formal. Yes, you have to list the basics like job requirements and duties but are you striking an emotional code with the reader? Here are a few tips from a marketing perspective for writing job descriptions.
Choose the right title for the job
A job title is like the subject line of an email; if you use the wrong title, no one will bother opening it. A job title is also how someone will identify themselves both internally within the company and socially with their peers. Just think of the last social event you went to with people you haven’t meet. Many times, what do you do for a living is the best question people will ask someone.
Titles should be concise, easy to understand without corporate speak. Titles like “Entry Level HW Computer Technician/System Services-Rep” (as seen on IBM) or “Security Engineer Level III “ are filled with corporate speak. Terms like “level III” might mean something to your company internally but mean zero to someone looking from the outside. You can always give more clarity within the job description. Also tells the relative seniority consistently through all job titles to make it clear where the role fits in your organization. Try and use the least amount of words possible when picking a job title.
Give people an idea about a jobs day-to-day activity
Be open and provide enough information on what a person is expected to be doing within a role. Let them know about projects they will participate in, the team they are working with and talk about the company culture. Try and paint a picture for people on what they will be doing on a given day, even if every day is expected to be different. Job activities vary as much as personalities do, the ideal candidate it a perfect match between the two. You can use a short paragraph to tell a short story to help people envision themselves in a role.
Explain the company culture and environment
One of my first jobs in tech was with a food broker, even though my role was technical, the environment and culture were very different from most white collar positions. We had areas in the buildings with forklifts and semis driving in. The atmosphere was a dynamic blend of people from different cultures and backgrounds. Highlight what makes your company unique, and somewhere people would want to work. Is your office quiet or a loud manufacturing plant? Are you more likely to have a company outing to a sporting event or Comic-Con? Most companies like to cover these topics on a website career page but remember, many times jobs are posted outside of your website, so touch on your culture.
Layout your “must have” skills
Now, once you got them interested in your job listing, got them excited about the job and your culture, it’s now time to make sure they are qualified. Make this section easy to scan by using bullet points. They should figure out in seconds if they are eligible. Begin by listing out your “required skills” for the position. This can include experience, licenses, education, training, skills, and achievements. Follow up this section with “preferred skills,” those nice to have that isn’t mandatory. This will give people an idea if they are providing anything unique to the table.
“I don’t even have any good skills. You know like nunchuck skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills. Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills!”
Money isn’t everything
78% of workers base their acceptance or rejection of a job offer in part on the benefits package. The job market for many positions is hyper-competitive, and people want no only a good culture but great benefits as well. Of course, you need to offer excellent health, dental, and vision insurance, and the HealthJoy app would be the cherry on the cake.
You also need other benefits that employees crave, the 2nd biggest being flexibility and improve work-life balance. When posting your job, make sure to list your best job perks. These can even include glimpses to a fun job culture like company sponsored happy hours, snacks and free lunches.
Watch what you say when writing job descriptions
Words matter, if you can access the help of a professional copywriter, do so. If your company is smaller, seek help from a freelancer. Nail down a compelling template that sets the tone you want to present. Your tonality should match your culture. You can also try automated tools like Textio.com, which tells you how effective your writing will be at recruiting and avoid pitfalls like gender leaning words.