Job descriptions are more than a simple list of requirements and missions associated with a position. It is the very first occasion you have to market your company to prospective candidates. With the increasing number of job vacancies in Canada, posting attractive job descriptions is an opportunity for employers to stand out from the crowd. Although it is a tricky task, improving the quality of your postings will be a significant asset for your company to attract and recruit the best candidates.
Applying for a job is a well-thought decision. Candidates sometimes miss out on an opportunity just because they get discouraged or confused by job descriptions. Long lists of requirements, considerable experience required, or lack of information are some factors that can explain why companies struggle to attract the right candidates to fill their open positions.
Do you want to master the art of writing compelling job descriptions? Here are some easy-to-implement tips to optimize your writing and attract the best candidates.
Think Like your Target Candidate
The number one rule is that your job description must be written with the intention to appeal to the candidate you are looking for. You have to picture your ideal candidate and put yourself in their shoes. You could start by asking yourself the following questions:
- At what stage of their career are they?
- What are their professional goals?
- What are their personal values?
- What are they looking for in a company?
- What value would they add to the team?
- Which factors are susceptible to making them want to change jobs?
Use this brainstorming to write exactly what your ideal candidate wants to hear. This way, they will immediately feel like the position is made for them when they read the description. Obviously, do not promise things that you cannot offer, or you will lose your credibility.
Optimize Job Title with Keywords
When looking for a job, the first thing people do is type the desired job title in a search engine or job platform. This is precisely the reason why your job title must contain all the keywords related to the position. First, you have to mention the sector of activity. Is it Marketing? Science? Sales? Accounting? Then, include a keyword related to the level of experience like “Junior”, “Senior”, “Specialist”, “Manager”, or “Assistant”. Doing that enables entry-level candidates not to lose time reading postings for senior positions, and senior candidates to filter the roles compatible with their experience. Finally, consider customizing your title with precisions like “bilingual” “remote” or “global”.
- Global R&D Specialist
- Bilingual Sales Assistant
- Remote Senior Accountant
If it is not consistent with the tone of your brand, job titles are not the place to be creative. A 2019 Indeed study reveals that over the last few years, more and more job postings are now looking for a “hero” “ninja” “rockstar” or “genius”. While this can be a way to differentiate yourself, it will also cost you a lot of traffic and might discredit you if it is not consistent with the values of your company. Keep it simple, informative and professional.
Be Realistic with Requirements
Keep your list of requirements realistic and as short as possible. Use bullet points to facilitate the reading experience. A famous psychology study provided evidence that short-term memory can only store between 5 and 9 items at a time. Consider that when drafting your job description if you want to keep it effective.
The main reason candidates do not apply for a job is because they do not meet all the requirements. But the truth is that the perfect candidate does not exist, and most of the time, the person who ends up being hired is someone that applied even if they didn’t meet every criterion. According to a large-scale study by TalentWorks, applicants meeting at least 50 percent of the job requirements are in fact as likely to obtain an interview as those meeting 90 percent! You could add a sentence to your posting encouraging candidates to apply even if they do not meet every single criteria.
Differentiate what is a “must-have” from what is “nice to have”. For example, being bilingual can be a must-have, whereas having a first experience can be nice to have. This distinction is important to encourage more candidates to apply.
Think carefully about what you ask and remember that some skills can be easily acquired during training. Too many job offers now ask for entry-level candidates with 5 years of experience or candidates having 10 years of experience in a very specific industry. People with that kind of profile usually already have a good position in their actual company and are unlikely to leave it.
Get Creative with Headings
Are you used to writing your job descriptions with the traditional “company description”, “qualifications”, “education”, and “responsibilities” sections? Think outside the box and try more creative and personalized headings. It will add more personality to your posting and make your company feel more human and accessible. Using creative headings also obligates you to be more concrete and encourages you to use everyday language instead of packing your post with jargon.
- Why working for us
- What you bring to us
- You are a great fit if…
- What is a typical day like
Focus on Skills
What will make a candidate an asset to your company are their skills, so highlight in your posting the ones that are essential to the position. You can include an example of the context in which they are relevant to your daily operations. Depending on which ones are relevant to your business, they might be developed in many ways outside experience and education. If you are hiring for customer service positions, check our article on the top qualities to look for in a candidate.
If you are posting on Indeed, you will even be able to include situational questions in your application process in order to evaluate skills. You will find everything you need to know about how to use Indeed screening questions in this article.
Inclusion is a topic now addressed in every job description, so remember to include a sentence at the end of your post about your values and diversity commitment. This simple sentence ensures that prospective candidates feel welcome to apply and know you have the necessary policies in place to help everyone integrate well in the team.
If you are looking for international candidates, mention that you are willing to do the necessary paperwork for them to come. Most overseas candidates get discouraged before applying because they think they have no chance in front of someone already living in the country. If you are looking in particular for bilingual French-English candidates, check our article about the Mobilité Francophone immigration programme, which facilitates the recruitment of Francophone candidates.
Include Salary Information
One of the main reasons why employees leave companies is for a higher salary. Despite that observation, advertising salary information is still a controversial topic. Glassdoor research reported that only 1 in 10 job listings includes salary information. The problem with this practice is the popular belief among job seekers that if a company is not willing to advertise salary information, they will probably underpay. Even if it is not necessarily true, it might discourage some of the best talents from applying for your positions.
While providing a precise salary can be counterproductive as it removes the possibility for negotiation, including a pay range is becoming a standard practice for job postings. That way, people with strict salary standards will not waste their time and yours applying for a position that does not meet their expectations.
Are you looking to recruit bilingual candidates for your business? Canada Talents is specialized in the recruitment of Francophone professionals and can support you in the optimization of your strategy. We can help you write an appealing job description, source the best candidates, and even take care of the screening process and interviews for you. Learn more about our services at www.canada-talents.ca or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.