Recruiter Tips: The Do’s and Don’ts of Effective Job Descriptions

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A clear, concise, and compelling job description improves the chances of attracting–and hiring–the right candidate. Unfortunately, many organizations don’t get them right. 

With the seismic shifts in the global economy, the great resignation, and critical skills shortages in full swing, job descriptions are an important way to increase your chances of hiring the best candidates.

How Effective Job Descriptions fit into Great Candidate Pipelines

Smart recruiters know that great talent comes from all sources. For some roles, passively sourced candidates are the best way to go. Promoting and reskilling workers from within offers a lot of benefits. External applicants are a great way to find motivated workers ready for a new challenge. 

All three candidates come from different channels, and all three are equally important. 

 

Effective Job Descriptions Create More Time for Resumé Review and Interviews

The biggest benefit of writing effective job descriptions is that they deliver better applicants. When you strike that right balance between informative and inspiring, you attract the right talent and spend less time sifting through unqualified applications. This, in turn, frees up more time to talk to your shortlist of qualified applicants. 

Another way to achieve or amplify this effect is to add Talent Intelligence to your ATS or HCMS. This simple upgrade gives you the insights of hundreds of seasoned recruiters, while ensuring OFCCP compliance and eliminating any unconscious or affinity bias. 

 

How to Write an Effective Job Description 

The Do’s

  • Make sure the job description includes the correct search terms and is well-formatted. This makes it easy to find and digest. 
  • Be sure to disclose important information, such as remote work, salary range, benefits, travel requirements, and other factors that might cause a candidate to drop out after those initial calls. 
  • Talk about the company’s missions and goals. Mission-oriented employees perform better and stay longer. 
  • Give the applicant a sense of the organization’s culture and structure and their place in it.  
  • Share the reporting structure and any managerial duties.
  • List the general duties and skills required for the job, but steer clear of requirements that might discourage applicants who don’t meet all the qualifications

The Don’ts

  • Get creative with the job title – your applicant may never find you! 
  • Be too vague or too detailed. 
  • If you’re not using Talent Intelligence technology, which automatically searches for related skills or skills of the same name, don’t forget to include variations of the most important skills you’re looking for. 
  • If you’re using a non-TI ATS, don’t include too many keywords. This could automatically disqualify highly qualified applicants. 
  • Avoid gender-specific language such as “man-mad, mankind or manpower” which may discourage females and others to apply.
  • Don’t use phrases such as “top-tier university.” These have little to no bearing on performance and can alienate candidates from diverse backgrounds.

The Benefits of a Great Job Description 

Reduced Recruiter Workload

We all know the drill: the average job listing receives 250 applications, 70% or more of which do not meet expectations. After a brief review, recruiters get a few hours to decide if they want to spend the next 2-5 years with a candidate. Optimizing the recruiting process and creating more time for conversation is absolutely critical. 

By writing compelling job descriptions, recruiters can dramatically improve the quality of applications, both in terms of skills and cultural fit. This reduces the number of applicants needing review, as well as the time spent explaining company culture. 

Amplified Company Mission

Having a strong company mission is an essential part of business success. Not only are mission-driven employees 54% more likely to stay for five years, they are also 30% more likely to grow into high performers. And once your company harnesses the power of mission, you’re looking at 46% greater market share gains and triple growth rates compared to competitors

Free download evolve your Workforce in the age of automation and AI ebook

Greater Diversity 

Everyone knows the benefits of a diverse workforce: increased innovation, income, and engagement. One of the ways to attract more diverse talent is to showcase just how your mission, your benefits, and your company make an excellent place for them to work.

Further Reading

5 Ways AI is Transforming HR and Recruiting

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AI and Strategic Talent Management: 3 Impactful Ways AI Will Make Hiring Human Again

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Creating a Resilient Workforce with Upskilling and Reskilling

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About the author

Elizabeth Morales
By Elizabeth Morales
Elizabeth Morales is the driving force behind Censia’s DE&I policies, where she combines her passion for social justice and psychology to ensure that all employees are heard, understood, and supported.