People, whether a recruiter or a candidate, have one very important thing in common – they don’t want to waste their time. Yet neither can easily escape their fate. Recruiters are destined to review thousands of resumes and job seekers must plod through hundreds of job postings. Neither have time or patience for nonsense, yet that’s often what they get.
We often share advice for people looking to improve their resume and coach our personal candidates as well. You’ve probably shared similar advice: “Don’t make your resume too long.” “Remove acronyms and other jargon.” “Make it easy to find the information that matters.” It’s all good advice, and if you think about it, that very same advice can help companies and hiring managers too.
If you want to attract more applicants, pay attention to your job descriptions. Better descriptions deliver better results. When it comes to job descriptions, the recipe for success contains some of the same ingredients.
Keep It Brief
Anyone who has to review resumes would agree that a shorter resume is more effective. “TL;DR” could be the recruiter’s mantra. Job seekers feel the same way. They don’t want to read through lengthy paragraphs that cover everything from A to Z about your company. They want the key information so they can quickly determine if they are a good match with your position – the salary and compensation, specific qualifications, and the responsibilities of the position. Job seekers cull opportunities just as quickly as any recruiter.
Lengthy descriptions and too much info can cause qualified people to move on. They don’t need a lot of general information or a lengthy paragraph about your company’s mission or culture. If someone is interested, they’ll link to your website, where they should find that kind of info! Be prepared for them there. In the job posting, too much extraneous info turns applicants away. Consider using bullet points or a short summary up front to convey key information clearly and quickly. Display info visually, if possible, rather than strictly text.
Lengthwise, 300-800 words is optimal. Studies show that postings in this range receive more submissions than shorter or lengthier posts. It’s a wide enough range that should be enough for any job. If you’re thinking you need more than that, then yours is probably too long.
You know the stat that says a recruiter spends 30-60 seconds before moving on to the next resume? It’s similar for those looking at job postings.
Get Rid of Jargon
Do your eyes glaze over when you read that someone has a proven track record of success or uses sports terminology? Well, people reading job descriptions feel the same way when they read that your company is looking for a hardworking, team player. They want language that means something, that is recognizable. It starts early, with the job title. Clever, whimsical titles like Happiness Ambassador or Ninja of any kind are an example of unwelcome jargon. It’s well-meaning to want to showcase your company culture and personality, but the job title isn’t where to do it.
A title should tell the applicant something! Something about what the job actually is, and in clear language. A good title allows a potential applicant to quickly get an idea of whether the position is junior or senior, client facing or internally focused, etc. so they can make a good decision about whether to keep reading. A good decision is the one that doesn’t waste their time. Titles like business development manager or senior data analyst key convey information that helps quickly. Also, remember search engines and job board filters are how people will find you. SEO matters when it comes to titles and using the terms people search for will get you better results.
When it comes to the meat of the description, bullet points can be a big help, again. Provide what people are looking for – salary and compensation, job responsibilities, needed qualifications. If you want to elaborate in prose, a short paragraph or two can follow. Be careful about loading your list with qualifications that would be “nice to have” but aren’t really necessary. You will lose qualified applicants who opt out as soon as they see something they don’t have. Don’t use acronyms or internal terms unless they are well-known and truly applicable to the position. Vague or undefinable language like “communicate effectively” isn’t as helpful as “experience leading internal team meetings” or “demonstrated success delivering feedback and coaching direct reports to promotion.”
Writing Better Job Descriptions Can Help
Finding the right people is too critical to a business’s success to leave any potential advantage untapped. Don’t let your job description sabotage your hiring efforts right out of the gate. First impressions count. Keeping your posting jargon-free and brief will ensure that yours is a positive one. You can’t impress a potential hire if you don’t get a chance to meet them first!
Want to chat about your recruiting process? Need help making the right hire? Reach out to us today!