It’s that time of year when people reflect. They reflect on the year they’ve left behind, the positives and the negatives, and peer into the future. What does it hold for them? What do they want this year from their career? Smart business leaders would be making sure they capitalise on this contemplative period. Want to draw good people to your business? The time is now.
To make sure your job description doesn’t fall on deaf ears (blind eyes?) it needs to pass basic tests with flying colours and keep prospective employees interested! Unless you’re the coolest company in the world that people would give their left leg to work at, you’ve got to avoid these basic errors – or you’ll pay with quality candidates.
Before you post that vacancy online, make sure you haven’t made these basic errors:
1. There’s no title on there…
It sounds so blatantly obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many job ads fly around with no real title stipulated. And even if there is one, sometimes it’s so vague that it could mean a million and one different things. If you’ve opted for ‘Consultant’, then great – but you’ve got to bring it to life. That one ‘title’ could refer to a shop assistant, a hair dresser or a client-facing bank manager. People need to be drawn in, and often that starts with the title.
2. No ‘years of experience required’ mentioned
People with loads of relevant experience will be turned away if there’s no mention of the role’s level. They want to know form the job spec that level-wise, this would be a step up for them, or offer a rewarding challenge. If there’s no indication of how senior the role is, you run the risk of these great candidates misconstruing things and ignoring the ad. Likewise if the role is a junior one, you might turn away these candidates, who might think the role’s too senior for them. Make it straight-forward.
3. No sense of workplace culture
We know that people have a lot of choice about where they work – they not only need to feel the role is right for them, but that the environment and culture matches with their own set of values and personality. If the job description doesn’t talk about the type of energy / culture or include any mention of the social aspects, you will leave no real emotional impression on the person and they’ll likely leave it.
4. No descriptive language
Further to my last point, if your job ad doesn’t include any descriptive language, and merely states the same cold, hard facts you use on all of your job ads, you need to get a bit creative. I’m not saying you have to write the job description as a poem, but at least make it unique and reflect the type of role you’re hiring for. Using a slightly conversational tone to properly outline the opportunity will make for easier reading, and using words that properly describe the post and type of person you’re looking for will help the right people identify with the position quicker.
5. Boring buzzwords everywhere
Obviously you want the person to be ‘responsible’, a ‘self-starter’ who is ‘professional’ and demonstrates ‘high attention to detail’, but come on, tell us something we don’t already know and assume to be the case! Actually honing down into specific skill-sets and attributes will capture the attention of the right type of candidates, rather than the everyone and no-one that cares to push through the cliches.
6. Spelling mistakes & bad grammar
Most people want to feel like they’re joining a reputable organisation. It doesn’t matter how senior the role is or how great the company is, if your job description is poorly written and full of mistakes, you’ll turn away candidates who place high importance on written language!
7. No indication of salary
Most candidates will appreciate that recruiters and hiring companies can’t show their cards too early and promise a salary on the job description, but there should at least be some mention of salary, to let applicants know that your company values the importance of employees being financially rewarded for their hard work. While putting a ball-park range is ideal, as it allows candidates to assess whether it’s a desirable position for them on a financial level or not, simply mentioning ‘competitive salary’ or ‘salary dependant on applicant’ will do the trick for the time being. Failing to make any mention of salary might make candidates think it’s not being mentioned for a particular reason, or that it’s low and not worthy of mention. While it isn’t all about money, candidates need to know that this is a priority and will be addressed throughout the process – that they won’t be kept in the dark.
At the end of the day, the more you can bring the role to life, the more chance you will have at attracting great, relevant candidates!