As important as it is for job candidates to make a good first impression, it’s equally important for the hiring company to do so, too. To help you impress job applicants and attract top talent, we give you seven ways to improve your B2B job descriptions. Keep reading.
1. Write for candidates, not search engines.
Conventional wisdom says companies should be creative with their job descriptions—doing away with the bland, formulaic traditional descriptions that do little to excite candidates. But there’s one problem – the recent growth of job aggregation sites has placed an added emphasis on the use of keywords.
So, while traditional job descriptions may be boring, they’re likely to contain the same keywords that job seekers have been conditioned to search for. Stray too far outside the box, and you will lower your chances of being discovered by potential candidates. So what’s a recruiter to do?
We say, the perfect job description is one that finds a way to combine the necessary keywords with a creative twist that speaks to candidates. Keywords should be your secondary concern when writing a job description – your first should be to capture the attention of qualified candidates.
Write a strong, passionate job description that will stand out from the pack, then go back and make sure it includes the right keywords.
2. Eliminate vague buzzwords.
In addition to being stale and uninteresting, many traditional job postings include the same old buzzwords and phrases. If you’ve ever applied for a job you’ve likely seen these phrases—think terms like “fast-paced environment”, “self-starter”, “team player.” Over-used, vague terms often deter qualified candidates from applying to your jobs. In fact, in a 2012 study by Monster, 57% of respondents said they are put off by meaningless jargon in job ads (source).
Companies in the marketing and sales sectors should pay special attention to this tip; that same study listed marketing (along with PR and media) and sales amongst the top five industries where job postings are littered with empty terminology.
Read some job postings from other companies in your industry. Do they feature a lot of the same buzzwords that your job descriptions do? If so, it’s time to get more specific.
Let’s take a look at two hypothetical examples:
Good: “The ideal candidate is a team player and can excel in a fast-paced environment.”
Better: “In this role you will work within the tight-knit marketing team on a daily basis to create engaging content. The perfect candidate has collaboration skills and the ability to meet specific deadlines.”
3. Explain the role’s impact within the company.
Many job descriptions focus on the day-to-day details the position requires, but fail to explain how the person will fit into the company as a whole.
This is especially problematic when so many roles have vague titles like “coordinator”, “specialist”, “executive”, “manager”, etc. You shouldn’t invent super-specific alternatives to these titles, but you should use your job description as an opportunity to tell the candidate what kind of impact they will make.
Great candidates want to feel like their work matters. That goes for the entry-level marketing coordinator or the senior-level manager.
Use a significant part of your job descriptions to explain what makes your company’s work important – and how this role will be an integral part of the big picture.
Good: “In this position you will create content, manage social media accounts and perform various marketing-related tasks as part of the Digital Marketing department.”
Better: “The Marketing Coordinator plays a pivotal role in expanding our digital audience by creating compelling, impactful content. Your work will be an integral part of organizational success.
4. Discuss growth potential – with examples.
A high quality candidate will care about the opportunity at hand and about their future within your company.
For this reason, growth potential is one of the most important topics to include in your job descriptions. Companies know that – you’ll be hard-pressed to find many marketing or sales positions that don’t mention “growth”. But here’s where many job descriptions make a mistake: they don’t get specific.
Good: “This Marketing Coordinator role presents tremendous opportunities for growth within our company.”
Better: “A successful Marketing Coordinator will have the opportunity to grow and take on new responsibilities such as spearheading social media campaigns, leading the content marketing team or working with video and audio production. We encourage employees to follow their interests and move in directions that excite them!”
5. Sell the company culture.
Your job description must represent your company as a business, but also as a workspace. A candidate may be interested in a position, but decline the offer if they’re not interested in your company’s culture.
Be sure to describe what it is like to work at your company. Are there great benefits? Fun events? Special perks for employees? This is where you differentiate your company from the dozens of others that a candidate will read about.
Good: “We offer a great culture to our employees, with a solid work-life balance, health benefits and paid time off.”
Better: “Our employees enjoy a fun, collaborative environment. We offer 3 weeks paid time off, paid holidays and top-of-the-line benefits from health and dental insurance to 401(k) assistance. And when we’re not working hard, we like to have fun! From holiday parties to quarterly team outings, you’ll be sure to make great memories with your colleagues in and out of the office.”
6. Be specific and transparent.
You want your job description to attract great candidates, but don’t be misleading. Be specific about what the job entails. Prioritize transparency: you won’t attract ideal candidates by misrepresenting the position.
Perhaps this transparency will cause some potential applicants to disqualify themselves – but that’s not a bad thing. The perfect candidate will meet the requirements you’ve outlined, and the specificity of your job description will increase their confidence in their qualifications.
Good: “We’re looking for a motivated, creative candidate with great writing and editing skills. If this sounds like you, apply now!”
Better: “This role requires you to conceptualize and craft an average of three well-researched, longform posts related to our business practices every week, as well as contribute to the editing process. The ideal candidate is an experienced, multifaceted writer who has strong research skills.”
Sounds obvious, right? Unfortunately, a staggering amount of job postings go live with blatant typos and mistakes.
Remember: you’re not only seeking out a candidate when you list an open position, you’re representing your company. You don’t want to make a bad first impression on a qualified candidate.
As the way candidates look for jobs changes, job postings become more and more important. Don’t let the perfect candidate slip away because of a bland, unclear job description.
Craft your job descriptions with the same care and passion that you’re looking for in your candidates. With so much competition in the B2B recruiting landscape, first impressions matter now more than ever. Be sure to make a good one – it’s a surefire way to draw the interest of the best candidates out there!
For more insight into creating high-quality job descriptions, check out the following blog post: The Pros and Cons of Standardized Job Descriptions.