Effective Job Description: How to make it inclusive and engaging

Effective Job Description: How to make it inclusive and engaging

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“Recruiting is a selling process, and people have options. Look at the job description as a marketing opportunity.”

– Adam Robinson, CEO of applicant tracking system Hireology

Gone are the days of writing general and thoughtless job posts. According to a study by Indeed.com, 61% of employed applicants said that an interesting job description would prompt them to consider a new job. And according to our recent candidate survey in Kenya, over half of candidates use the job description to learn more about what it’s like to work at a company — over Glassdoor and all social media platforms.

Needless to say, in order to hire the best talent you want to ensure your job post gets noticed. To create an effective job description, you need to strike a balance between being succinct and providing just the right amount of information so candidates can self-qualify for the role. How can you achieve this?

1. The right job title

Make your title accurate and SEO-friendly. If you’re hiring a Senior Customer Service Representative, avoid using acronyms like “Sr. Customer Service Rep.” or off-beat titles like “Customer Support Guru.” These deviations reduce clarity in a case where it’s beneficial to be as clear as possible.

Moreover, sticking to the conventional title also makes sure your JD is search engine optimised — meaning candidates searching for that type of job will be more likely to find it while searching on Google. If you’re not sure what title to go with, it could be useful to do some research on popular job listing sites for most-used titles of similar job openings.

2. An effective job description is gender-neutral

It is imperative to be mindful of using non-gender-specific pronouns and job titles in order to promote diversity and inclusion. According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, replacing words with gender stereotypes attached to them — like “ninja,” “rockstar” and “guru” — in your role title with more straightforward words like “sales representative” and “developer” can help make prospective candidates feel more included. You can always scan your job description through the Gender Decoder tool, which will tell you whether your job description is too gender-specific.

3. Pictures and videos

It’s one thing to say your company culture is great, it’s another to show it in action. We recommend you add pictures and videos on the careers landing page to show off your work environment, day-to-day office activities and people in your company. For more tips on improving your careers page click here.

effective job description

On our recruitment landing page for Africa’s Talking, we highlighted their fun work culture with this office snapshot.

4. Explanation of the role’s purpose

An effective job description says why this role is needed and important within your organisation. Individuals like to feel needed and that their role is a crucial piece of the bigger puzzle.

5. An effective job description includes your mission statement

You may know what a company does or sells, but often its broader mission or “reason for being” is far more compelling to prospective employees.

In our latest employer branding survey, when asked what factors are most important to respondents when considering joining a new company, Kenyan professionals ranked the company’s mission and impact on society over flexible working hours and well-known brand name!

6. Showcase your EVP

Focus on highlighting your Employee Value Proposition — the set of differentiators that make you an attractive place to work. According to a studyby Gartner, a strong EVP can help you attract significant talent, boost employee engagement and reduce compensation premium by 50%. Read more about creating an EVP here.

For instance, TransferWise’s latest job post for a Senior Java Developer clearly states the opportunities this role will give a candidate.

Image Credit: TransferWise.com

Similar to most marketing tools, job titles and postings customised to a target audience are likely to produce higher conversion rates. So think carefully about the target audience for this role (e.g., Are they more senior and would be excited by taking on a lot of responsibility? Is it geared towards millennials so they might be excited by your fun, open-plan office?) and tweak your EVP accordingly!

7. Highlight future prospects

According to a study by LinkedIn, future career prospects, intellectual and financial advancements are among the key factors that make an applicant accept or reject an offer. Include the potential career path that someone in this role could take, and map out how they could take on more responsibilities, learn new skills, and eventually be promoted within the organisation.

8. An effective job description is mobile-friendly

A recent study by Indeed.com indicated that 77% of people aged 16–34 use a mobile device in their job search, and that 72% of people aged 35–44 also turn to mobile. Therefore, it is imperative to make your JDs mobile-friendly!

Learn more about optimising your employer branding for the mobile generation here.

9. Mention something unique about your office culture

An effective job description highlights your company culture. Do you have bring-your-pet-to-work Fridays? Flexible schedules? Happy hour Thursdays? Remote work opportunities? Shout these out in the job description!

10. Go beyond “an equal opportunity employer”

Stating that you are ‘an equal opportunity employer’ may not be enough. To show your dedication toward building a diverse team, a few more words about can go a long way. A good example is IBM’s statement on diversity and inclusion:

IBM is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.

You should also highlight any inclusive benefits your company offers. For instance, if you offer paternity leave or any other childcare subsidies and facilities, definitely mention them in your JD.

With the help of some of these tips, you will have talented job-seekers excited about coming on board!

Stay tuned for more

As part of our latest campaign on employer branding, we will be sharing actionable resources and tools like these over the next few months. To receive all of our latest tips straight to your inbox, sign up for our weekly newsletter here!

Anything specific about employer branding that you’re hoping to learn? Let us know in the comments below.

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