Employer Branding

4 Things Your Job Descriptions Need to Do

Profile photo of Lori Sylvia
Written by Lori Sylvia
4 Things Your Job Descriptions Need to Do
5 (100%) 6 votes

Job descriptions are often the first stop in a candidate’s journey. Before a job seeker visits the beautiful careers site you’ve built, they’re most likely landing on your job description first. With more candidates starting their job search using Google for Jobs, and with the growing use of programmatic job advertising, recruitment marketers are able to take a targeted approach to getting their job descriptions in front of the right people at the right time.

This makes job descriptions perhaps the most important touchpoint in the candidate journey. It might be the first time that a candidate is introduced to your employer brand, and we know how important first impressions are!

Given these factors, it’s worth taking the time to focus on getting your job descriptions right—or you could be causing talent to take their interest elsewhere.

To improve their job descriptions, forward-thinking Recruitment Marketing teams are creating enhanced job descriptions.

What are enhanced job descriptions?

Enhanced job descriptions are job descriptions that go above and beyond the typical list of skills and qualifications and turn the job description into a visual, employer brand-driven landing page that is built for conversion.

Here’s an example from T-Mobile of what an enhanced job description looks like:

You can view more examples of enhanced job descriptions in our Rally Ideabook: 6 Enhanced Job Descriptions to Inspire You.

Whether or not you have enhanced job descriptions in place, or you’re currently working on them, you can still improve your job descriptions now by keeping these 4 goals top of mind:

1) Grab the candidate’s attention

Most current job descriptions are text-based and templated, making them look and sound the same. They fail to capture a candidate’s attention from a visual and content perspective.

In order to overcome this limitation and keep candidates on your posting, consider adding visuals and upgrading the copy.

Adding a hero or header image, links to employee blogs or videos, and icons that represent your different benefits are all a great way to ensure that your posting stands out and garners interest.

If you don’t have the ability to add visuals to your job postings at the moment, you can focus on creating the most engaging copy. In particular, a strong ‘hook sentence’ at the beginning can go a long way to draw people in.

To come up with a good hook sentence, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is my target candidate group most interested in?
  • What would be a unique way to start off our job postings?
  • What’s the most interesting thing about this job posting?

Take the answers to these questions and distill them into a sentence or two that appears at the very top of the job posting. This will be the first things candidates read and will encourage them to keep reading.

Whether you’re limited to text or not, you can find lots of other tips to optimize the copy in your job descriptions and job ads in the Rally blog post: 7 Copywriting Lessons From the World’s Top Employer Brands.

2) Deliver the information that candidates are seeking

Many job descriptions are too employer-centric. They’re focused on the skills and qualifications the employer is looking for, rather than the information candidates need at that stage of the candidate journey.

It’s really important that organizations make the switch from employer-centric to candidate-centric because otherwise candidates won’t truly connect with your employer brand or career opportunity.

In fact, according to a study by CareerBuilder, if candidates can’t find the information they need, 37% will move on and won’t research your company further.

So what are candidates looking for? They are looking for the “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM) rule. Your job description should answer the question, what will I get out of working in this role, for this company?

According to CareerBuilder, here are the top nine things that candidates want to see in your job postings:

  1. Salary (74%)
  2. Top benefits package (61%)
  3. Employee ratings (46%)
  4. Hiring manager contact information (40%)
  5. Work from home options (39%)
  6. How the company provides work/life balance (35%)
  7. Photos and videos of the work (31%)
  8. Team structure and hierarchy of the role (27%)
  9. How many people applied (25%)
Top things candidates want to see in a job posting

Top nine things that candidates want to see in your job posting. Source: CareerBuilder

3) Help candidates quickly assess their fit

Another reason why it’s important to follow the WIIFM rule is because it helps candidates to self-select if the role is a good fit.

You can do this by making your job descriptions as skimmable as possible. Include clear, bolded headers that indicate where candidates can access info, and keep the copy underneath each header short and to the point.

If you have access to an enhanced job description tool, you can create different tabs or different colored sections that convey the important pieces of information that candidates are looking for.

Lastly, remember to give candidates an alternative option if they decide that the job they landed on isn’t the right fit for them.

A couple of ideas on how you can do this:

  • Link out from each job description to related jobs that might be a better fit
  • Include a clear call to action (CTA) to join your talent network to receive updates about future opportunities

4) Influence them to apply

For those candidates who are a fit, you want to include persuasive information that will convince the right candidates to apply.

The best way to do this is by finding ways to weave your employer value proposition (EVP) into each job posting. Your EVP should make it clear to candidates why they should consider this role with your company over other options they might have.

To communicate your EVP, you can of course use compelling copy. But your EVP is likely to be conveyed most effectively if you’re also communicating it through strong visual content.

Beyond just stating your EVP, you can and should link to other sources that further drive your EVP home: like employee testimonials and blogs, Glassdoor ratings and culture content on your careers site.

And don’t be concerned about including too much EVP content! Research from The Muse has shown that job description length doesn’t impact applications for most roles, so include as much information as you feel is necessary to persuade your ideal candidates to apply!

Looking for more job description best practices? Take a look at the Rally Ideabook: 6 Enhanced Job Descriptions to Inspire You to get some great ideas from companies who are getting their job descriptions right!

4 Things Your Job Descriptions Need to Do
5 (100%) 6 votes

About the Author

Profile photo of Lori Sylvia

Lori Sylvia

Recruitment Marketing evangelist and community builder. Founder of Rally.

[ FREE Video Class ]
[ FREE Video Class ]