How to create killer job descriptions that attract talent

 As a small business owner, you are faced with the challenge of finding suitable talent while competing with larger brands for hires. There is one way however to ensure high quality job seekers come knocking at your door: the job description.

With less time and resources, you want to find the right person the first time, every time. To achieve this, your JD should stop potential candidates in their tracks and make them think: I was made for this business. Here are six ways to ensure your description attracts the talent you need.

Craft the right job title

One of the first things a potential employee sees in a job description is the job title – and this is also the most important consideration for your advertisement. The wrong job title can have serious implications for your employee search; not only will you attract candidates that aren’t right for the role, but you’ll also put off candidates that are perfect for the job that you have on offer.

Do your research – reading similar advertisements and comparing the list of tasks with your own can help clarify if you’re on the right track - and if possible ask people in the same field for advice. If you’re replacing a promoted employee, consider asking them what they think about the potential job title – they might have some invaluable advice that could attract the right replacement.

Create a description – not an ad

Engaging the reader is key here: how are you representing the position in a meaningful way, without simply writing down a bullet list of tasks? Explain what kind of person you are looking for, the desired skill set, what they should be passionate about, and who they will be working with.

Also be sure to separate must-haves from nice-to-haves in your requirements; a skill or certificate that may be negotiable, but appears to be set in stone, can dissuade potential candidates. You can always train the right person, but cultural fit is harder to teach.

Sell your business

Bring your business to life for the reader – what makes your workplace tick? The essential ingredient here is to explain why you are different from every other business out there. Tell your potential applicants why you're a better choice than the big brands, by highlighting your business culture, any special employee incentives, your vision for the future, and what opportunities are available to them to grow within the business.

For example, “We’re strong advocates of a flexible working policy which includes working from home days and the endorsement of parent-friendly hours. We promise to work with you to help timetable work and life together.”
It is these kinds of details that will help you stand out amongst the corporates and foster employee loyalty.

Show your brand personality

Language is key! If you’re a laid-back app development business with a ping-pong table in the kitchen, you’ll use different language to attract potential employees than a law firm seeking a killer paralegal who is willing to spend late nights pouring through legal books.

E.g. “We’re looking for a new social guru who can burn the midnight oil with a ping pong paddle in hand…” vs “We’re looking for an experienced paralegal with razor-sharp focus on getting the job done…”

If your business was a person, how would they convey their personality? What words would they use to describe this role? It might not be the voice that you personally use in everyday life, but it will help to attract the kind of employee you are looking to hire.

Use the right keywords

With the majority of job seekers looking for the perfect job online these days, using the right keywords in your job ad could guarantee they find you among the thousands of job ads uploaded every day.

Consider the search terms you would use if you were looking for this job; make sure to include a few of those keywords in the first 25 words of your advertisement. Researching similar job descriptions also helps here.

Ask for more than just a resume

They’ve found you – but what now? Ensure that you choose the right person to progress to the interview stage by asking for more than just a resume.

Specify what you would like to see in their submission; whether it be a portfolio, a cover letter detailing why they think they are right for your business, or even a small task representative of the role. However, you must also ensure that you don’t ask for too much – jumping through hoops could turn a candidate off.

How to Create Killer Job Descriptions

To save time and set your business up for success, download an editable Word version of our job description template.