6 proven ways to optimize your job description

August 18, 2022
Marketing

According to a 2016 paper, 48% of applicants have no prior relationship with the company they're applying to (IBM). Although it was published 4 years ago, the implications are more relevant than ever in an applicant-driven market.

Most companies view job ads as a way to explain to candidates what they, the company, are looking for. However, your job ad is often the first touchpoint a potential candidate has with your company. So why would they care what your company wants? Especially because they have more than enough options for work at the moment.

Instead, you have to flip the script. Rather than seeing a job description as a way to tell candidates about what you want, use it as a medium to explain why they should want to work for you.

In other words, focus on making your job ad attractive for candidates, first and foremost.

In this blog, we’ll share 6 methods we’ve tested that significantly increase the conversion of your job descriptions. Whether they’re on LinkedIn or your website.

1. Job title

Having the wrong job title is the first pitfall. It will cost you time and money, but luckily, it can be easily improved.

You won’t believe the job titles that people come up with nowadays. Sales tiger, superstar engineer, or IT guru, just to name a few. Yes, they’re quirky and unique. No, they’re not going to increase the number of applicants you get. There’s a simple reason for this:

Most people looking for jobs don’t search for quirky names. They search for job titles they are already familiar with. This means a quirky title will translate to less visibility in search results on platforms like LinkedIn and Google.

Even if you’re not using quirky titles, it’s worth taking a critical look at your role descriptions because different people use different titles to describe the same job (and vice versa). For instance, you could call a role “Cloud engineer” or “AWS developer”. The first may get you more candidates because it's more general, but the second may get you candidates that fit better with the role.

2. People buy a personal transformation, not a product

People make decisions based on emotions, we all know this. However, most of the job descriptions don’t tickle the emotional parts of our brain. So keep this in mind when you are writing an introduction about your company.

The goal here is to have potential candidates resonate with your company. This could be the working environment, colleagues, or a shared vision, like sustainability for instance.

Think about your ideal hire. How old are they? What is important in their life? What is their way to communicate? What does their personality look like?

When writing your company introduction, focus on making it enticing for your ideal candidate. Combine the ‘personality’ of your organization with the personality of a potential candidate. Make them feel like they are part of something bigger.

For example, if your company looks like this:

  • Your company does back-end development for mobile applications.
  • Your working ethics are based on independence and responsibility.
  • Your team consists of young and motivated individuals.

Your introduction could look like this:

We build infrastructure for mobile apps. We believe in our people, so we work hard to create an environment where you have the freedom to experiment, try out new ideas and solve problems your way. You’ll be joining a young team of motivated nerds who succeed and fail together. We can’t wait for you to join.

3. Describe the application process

According to Career Builder; 60% of candidates quit in the middle of the application process. No wonder when you realize how many job ads don’t include a description of the application process, and/or make it lengthy and complex.

You should therefore always describe the application process. When people have doubts, they won’t do it. Give people an idea of what happens next after they applied. Doing this will increase the likelihood of candidates applying to you.

More importantly; make your application process as short as possible.

4. Use visuals

51% of candidates find a job ad with images more appealing (softwareadvice.com). Imagery helps the candidate to get a feeling for the company. When using visuals you have a competitive advantage over every company that doesn’t. It makes you more authentic. So what images could you use?

  • Your product or service. Show candidates what the output is of what they will be working on.
  • The office. If you have a nice office you should definitely show it.
  • Colleagues. Give candidates a feel for who they will be working with.

5. Sell the role and responsibilities

The job title does not say much about what a person will actually be doing day-to-day. People want to know what to expect so, be as concrete as possible about the tasks they will perform on the job.

Here are 3 things you should definitely include:

  • What a typical day would look like. What are the main tasks and responsibilities they have during the day? You might even describe it from the first-person point of view.
  • With who and with what they will work with. What are the clients/customers like, which colleagues will they work with and what are the tools or programs that they will encounter?
  • What the results of their efforts would be. People want to know what the goal is of their input. It could be a creatively designed website, an insanely well-performing marketing campaign, or closing deals with high-value prospects.

6. Edit aggressively

Perhaps counterintuitive, considering the points above, but be selective about what information you include. Keep your job ad short. 500 words or less. You can always share more information in your follow-up mail or on your website. People are significantly more likely to apply to a job if the description is short and to the point, so remove anything but the absolute essentials needed to sell the job and your company to an applicant.

Conclusion

So remember: you can post on dozens of job boards and have the most attractive benefits but, if you can’t convince a candidate that your role is worth applying to, you will not get the applications you need.

We hope that these tips have helped you improve your recruitment marketing. Our core business is helping ambitious startups scale their hiring. If you’re struggling to find the right people, or find enough people to scale your business drop your contact details here. We’re excited to help you solve your hiring challenges.

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