Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tips for Writing a Compelling Job Description

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Before we interview candidates, we have to get top talent in the marketplace interested and excited enough to apply. We have found that one of the best ways to do this is with a well-crafted job description. Here are some of the things we do to ensure we produce elite hires for our clients.

Known What You Want (Sharpen Your Focus)It is important that we focus our job description on capturing a prospective employees’ attention and interest, and that we have a clear vision of the type of person we want to hire. For example, we may be looking for a marketing guru to help us take our business to the next level. In this case, we would look for someone who understands the potential of the various marketing levers available and knows, or is interested in learning, how to use them. We would cater to this type of person when writing our job description, as this is quite often the only opportunity to “market” a role to a target audience.

Know What THEY WantBefore we can set out to create a job description that will attract top talent, it’s important for us to understand the things our client’s target demographic view as important. Job traits like frequent travel might seem great to young professionals who aren’t tied down, but they could be a deterrent to senior executives who value spending time at home with the family. We figure out what it is the target candidates value, and then we highlight the ones that our client offers.

Answer The “Why” (Benefits vs. Features)Many job descriptions simply list the duties and responsibilities of the position, followed by a list of skills or experiences the role requires. Since the opportunity we are describing also offers unique benefits to job seekers—like a chance to work with the agency’s most famous clients or get in on the ground floor of a new client/agency relationship—we ensure the job description communicates them. When a person asks themselves “Why do I want to work here?”, we give them the answer to that question.

Sell Your CompanyWhatever position we are recruiting for probably exists in other companies. While it’s important to communicate specifics about the role itself, it’s also critical to convey information about our client’s company. A great candidate is not just applying for an opportunity; they’re joining what they hope is an innovative team. There are a lot of great things about our clients that employees value, and we do our best to explain how the job will help the candidate achieve their objectives and fast-track their marketing career.

Make It InspirationalJob descriptions shouldn’t just be informational… they should be inspirational! When it comes to actually writing the job description, we have found that there are a few important points to consider. Here is what we do to make our job description stand out:
  • We write job descriptions in a natural voice that conveys some of the personality of our client’s companies.
  • We avoid clich├ęs and keep the business jargon to a minimum.
  • We ensure the most appealing aspects of the job are highlighted and stand out.
  • When we’re done, we read it back to ourselves. We also put ourselves in the reader’s shoes and ask: “Would I be excited about this opportunity?”
Finding a great hire in today’s viral network can be a daunting task, but with the right preparation and delivery, it can net some fantastic employees.

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