Wood Words

Tips for Writing Effective Job Descriptions

Have you ever bought something on impulse?  Ever wonder what attracted you to the item in the first place?

Whatever the reason, something about the way that product was marketed created a strong attraction in you – strong enough to make you act.

In many ways, job postings are a lot like the impulse items we all buy on occasion.  As a manager, you must ensure that the announcements you write compel the candidates you seek to take action – even if they aren’t actively seeking new jobs.

To help you in this arena, use these tips for creating irresistible job postings that are magnets for talent:

  1. Tell a story to stir emotions.  Rather than beginning with dry job requirements, focus on the ways your company’s products or services impact customers’ lives, or draw from client testimonials.  Write about the way your business makes people feel, and use this to create a compelling image of your company and the available position.
  2. Approach the posting from the job seeker’s perspective.  Top candidates are more interested in what a position offers them personally – high earning potential, intellectual challenge, recognition, etc. – than in your company’s business strategy.  Ensure your job posting addresses these needs by first highlighting the rewards of the position.
  3. Emphasize your company’s strengths.  Everyone wants to work for a successful organization.  Put your company’s best foot forward by identifying strengths such as: organizational growth, industry track record, competitive advantages of your products/services, positive corporate culture, financial stability, awards and/or recognition.
  4. Convey a sense of optimism.  Potential candidates are quick to form judgments about your company based on the tone of your listing.  Use positive language to turn downsides into opportunities (e.g., a decline in profits signals a need for innovation).
  5. Keep it short.  Details are great, but a passive job seeker won’t take the time to read a lengthy listing that drones on and on like Charlie Brown’s teacher.  So as a general rule, limit job postings to two or three pages.
  6. Avoid overused buzzwords and transparent euphemisms.  For the savvy job seeker, buzzwords do little to differentiate your company – so use them sparingly (balancing the need for SEO when postings are online).  Likewise, steer clear of inflating job titles (e.g., listing a coffee gopher as a Beverage Production Manager) that will only rob your company of both clout and credibility.
  7. Use your in-house writing talent.  A job posting is a marketing piece.  If you’re not a Twain or Grisham by nature, enlist your marketing department’s help.  Provide them with the nuts and bolts of the job (as well as this post) and let them craft a compelling posting for you.

Attracting top talent is both time-consuming and expensive – so why do it on your own?  Call Wood Personnel with your job specifications, and allow us to find the best temporary and direct placement candidates for you.