Optimize Your Job Description To Attract Qualified Candidates

Published: July 6th, 2021

Optimize Your Job Description to Attract Qualified Candidates

We have all experienced the frustration of sorting through an inbox full of candidates, only to find they’re all unqualified for the position. Finding qualified applicants for an open job starts with a strong job description. An effective job description gives potential employees an overview of the position, the requirements, and the qualifications and skills necessary to do the job well. If you present the wrong information, you risk attracting the wrong candidates.

How to Optimize Your Job Description

Choosing the right job description can be frustrating. Is it too long? Do I have the right keywords? Did I include the right skills? The following six tips will help you make these decisions and ensure you have an optimized job description.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

The job description should not only give information about the position itself but answer why the candidate should work for your company. Highlight what is unique about your company within the industry and why the candidate should work for you. When the candidate reads the job description, it should also make them feel excited about the company. Make it clear what impact the role has within the company. Examples of past projects or clients will help set your organization apart in the industry. This is your chance to sell your company and brand to the candidate.

Choose the Most Important Skills and Experience

It might seem that the best idea is to put all the qualifications and experience needed for the job into the description, but this can make for a description that is out of reach for most people because few people will fit the desired profile exactly. Women are less likely to apply for a position if they do not meet 100% of the requirements, while men will apply even if they only meet 60% of the requirements, which could lead to gender bias in the hiring process. Any non-negotiable requirements should be stated, but not all the requirements should be non-negotiable. In other words, write the job description for the qualified candidate, not the perfect one.

Highlight the Benefits

Candidates want to get a better idea of what it will be like to work for your company. So, in addition to compensation, highlight those aspects of the job that make it great. Examples include company culture, childcare and flex time, healthcare options, remote work opportunities, employee discounts or programs, and bonuses and stock options. Don’t forget you are in competition with other companies for the ideal candidate so include the benefits that help give you an edge over your competitors.

Mention Your Diversity and Inclusion Policies

An organization’s Diversity & Inclusion policies are top-of-mind with all job seekers. It is important to provide some messaging from the get-go that addresses how your company provides a culture and opportunities for diverse candidates. Research has indicated that the use of certain words discourage candidates like women, people of color, and people with disabilities from applying to a job so your job description should be written to be inclusive.

Optimize Your Job Description for SEO

Each job post should appeal to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by using the appropriate keywords. The keywords and phrases should be between 50-60 characters and the job description should be between 2,000 to 10,000 characters. This is the job description sweet spot as the click-to-apply rate (CTA) for descriptions in this range is five times higher than shorter or longer ones! Keywords should appear 4 to 5 times throughout the description and it should repeat the job title for optimization purposes.

Be Clear and Concise

While SEO optimization is important for getting the job description in front of the right type of candidates, it should not be so loaded with keywords that it does not makes sense to the reader. The description should be clear, concise and reflect the enthusiasm your company has for the role. It should give the basic information about what to expect from the role in an easy-to-understand format. Use standard industry terms rather than internal company lingo to make it readable (and easy find online!). Paragraphs or bullet points can help separate the content.

Once you have created a job description that includes all of the pertinent information about the position, it needs to be promoted. The perfect job description won’t attract great candidates if it does not reach the proper audience. JobTarget can help you successfully optimize and execute recruitment advertising campaigns.

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