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Your Job Descriptions Need Work

Job descriptions

Your old job descriptions no longer do the job. It’s something we told employers early amid the pandemic chaos and again during a recent chat with the Austin Business Journal. But make no mistake: job descriptions are a big deal. About 52% of job seekers told Indeed the quality of a job description is very or extremely influential on their decision to apply.

Take a look at some of our latest tips when it comes to winning job descriptions:

Urgent Job Postings for Seasonal Jobs

“There’s no doubt temporary staffing has changed since the pandemic,” says Stephanie Grubbs, Regional Managing Director of The HT Group General Staffing Division. Many employers who once relied heavily on contract and temp-to-hire staffing now feel the pressure to create permanent positions right out of the gate. The motivation: Once they find someone good, they feel desperate to hold onto them. At the same time, job-seeker interest in seasonal work is low. But market volatility means that other temporary arrangements like seasonal jobs are more critical to fill than ever.

What does that mean for job descriptions? Indeed studied the phenomenon heading into this past holiday season and found that:  

  • By mid-September, 10.1% of seasonal job postings indicated that hiring was urgent in the job description — a whopping 10x increase from the year before (pre-pandemic). 
  • The number of seasonal postings advertising hiring incentives grew 250% over the previous year.  

As we enter the tourism season, sourcing seasonal jobs will be a massive hurdle for many employers. The federal government is issuing 35,000 additional guest worker visas for summer hiring, but it won’t be enough. And then the holiday surge will suddenly be upon us. Despite the difficulties employers had filling urgent seasonal jobs last year, iCIMS found that 57% of companies’ current staffing plans project no further than four months out.  

“You need to have a game plan well ahead of your seasonal hiring deadlines. That includes crafting job descriptions more competitively than you have before. A staffing firm can help you move quickly and effectively on each of these fronts, and we can source candidates in ways you can’t do alone,” Grubbs adds.

Attracting the Right Candidates

We advise job seekers to tailor their resumes and applications to match job descriptions in order to make it through applicant screening systems successfully. But guess what? The same is true for employers, particularly in this flipped job market. Without thoughtful wording, your job descriptions may not compel the best-fitting candidates to apply. Heck, those candidates may never even see your job descriptions at all.

Some of the biggest mistakes we see with poorly worded job descriptions are:

  • Not following the guidelines/instructions of each job board you’re using. Not all job boards are created equal. It’s essential to tailor your listing to fit the best practices of each job board so that your listing has a fighting chance of being seen in searches. Reputable recruiters can help (and even do that work for you).
  • Not clearly or realistically defining required qualifications versus preferred qualifications. Take an honest look at your requirements. Many job seekers won’t apply unless they believe they’re a 100% match (which tends to be more true for women than men). Are you ruling out great potential employees by not allowing for transferable skills or opportunities for upskilling?
  • Job titles that no longer reflect the job or modern job-seeker preferences. Tyrone Smith, Jr., Global Head of People Analytics & Insights at Udemy, makes an excellent case for re-evaluating your job titles here. “Conventional job titles have become outdated in many different workplace contexts,” he states. Updating those job titles can vastly improve job seeker response. Indeed found that 36% of job seekers search by job title, so it’s important to understand what is being searched for and tailor your titles accordingly.
  • Ignoring job perk trends. Today’s job seekers have particular desires: remote and flexible work arrangements, mental health provisions, quality healthcare, and childcare assistance top the list. Featuring these modern perks (if you have them) in your job descriptions is a smart move. Joblist’s 2022 Trends Report found that 80% of job seekers believe that employers need to re-evaluate their benefits after the pandemic. About 54% would consider taking a lower-paying job with a better benefits package.
  • Keeping compensation too tightly guarded. Nearly 40% of job seekers expect it to be included in an initial job posting. Doing so can be tricky, but don’t just skip the salary field without putting some thought into it. There should be a compelling reason to keep it (or a range) secret. “Whether to include compensation and other details in a job listing or not is a timeless debate,” The HT Group Vice President of SalesClaire Reese, CSP, states. “What has changed over the years, though, is a job seeker’s ability to find out that information—and more—by other means. Sources like Glassdoor and Comparably have changed the game.”
  • Giving no indication of company culture within the listing. About 72% of job seekers consider details about company culture very or extremely important in a job listing. Your job descriptions—alongside your website, social media and other online assets—should exude a consistent message about who you are as an organization. If they don’t, take some time to make it happen. Built-In offers some tips on how to do that here.

Listing Alone Won’t Cut It

Getting the right eyeballs onto a job description is a particular challenge. But even if you could “post it, and they will come,” who will have the time and expertise to find the “true fit” candidates who are, essentially, needles in a giant haystack? What about passive candidates who may have just switched jobs as a part of the “Great Resignation” and are no longer searching (but also no happier with their job than they were before)?

Enter your new (or maybe current) best friend: Your recruiter. Job descriptions can only get you so far without a good recruiter who can help at all stages of writing it, listing it, and supplementally sourcing and screening candidates. Contact us to find out more.