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Create a Job Description that Entices Candidates to Apply

Create a Job Description that Entices Candidates to Apply

By: Catherine Conlan

Everyone wants to get the most out of the job description. But in this highly competitive recruiting landscape, how can your job ad really stand out to the people you want to apply? 

In short, job descriptions should be unique and communicate what the role and employer offer, says Mikaela Kiner, founder and CEO of UniquelyHR in Seattle. “Too many job descriptions have a cookie-cutter feel to them and are nearly identical except for the company name,” she says. 

Just as a resume needs to convey a dynamic story about the applicant, an eye-catching ad should say something special about the company who posted it, says Kiner.

Here’s how to create a job description that will help your company stand out.

Tap the Person in the Job
A great way to capture the job’s details is to have the person currently in the role write the first draft, says Lela Reynolds, senior career consultant at New York City-based Resume Strategists. The supervisor should also weigh in on any required job skills or experiences.

Include all the information a candidate needs to get a clear picture of the job, such as the core job duties of the positions and the skills needed to complete them. “Describe the role clearly enough that candidates can picture a day in the life,” Kiner says. 

The more specific you can be, the better, says Reynolds. Include information about the size of the team, who the position reports to, whether travel is involved and what the key deliverables are for the position.

Be Specific and Avoid Cliches
Give people a clear idea of what it’s like to work at your company. You’ll want to include information about the company’s mission as well as what it’s like to work there. 

Include language that shows what’s unique about the company, Kiner says, such as its values or vision.This is especially important if your organization isn’t a household name, she adds. 

As much as you can, avoid cliches, Kiner says. So many companies say they’re “fast-paced” or are working with “rapid growth” that the terms can lose their meanings. Using a generic term like “rapid growth” could mean things you don’t want to imply, such as long hours or uncertainty when large groups of people are hired at once.

Take the time to come up with descriptive terms that capture your company brand

Don’t Forget to Include a Great Close
A good job description should include clear information about compensation, benefits and opportunities for advancement in the company -- especially benefits that help make your company stand out. Outline any special perks or benefits your company offers to seal the deal.

End with a good closing line. “Most employers include great descriptions of the summary of the job but don't include the persuasive touch at the end of the description,” says Ahmed Elsayyad of Elsayyad Medical Group, a healthcare recruiting firm. Mentioning generous salaries and benefits or the potential for growth in the future can give the job description the hook that gets qualified candidates to apply, he says.