Create Job Descriptions That Prioritize Candidate Experience with these 4 Tips

Kelly Barcelos April 12, 2019in Recruitment Strategy
create job description

Unless you’re Apple or Google, chances are, when a job seeker clicks on your open job on Monster or Indeed, it’s the first time they’re interacting with your company brand.

And the saying “you only get one chance to make a first impression” rings true for your job descriptions, too.

A job posting is more than just a document – it’s often your first touchpoint with a potential hire. Neglecting to prioritize a positive candidate experience could result in qualified candidates bouncing from your job postings without you even knowing.

And yes, you can use your job descriptions to create a candidate experience that delights and intrigues job seekers. And really, you can’t afford not to. After all, candidate experience has tangible, financial consequences. A Virgin Media case study found that a bad candidate experience can cost the organization $5M annually.

So, a job seeker has clicked on your job posting. How do you convert them from job seeker to applicant with the power of a superb candidate experience?

1. Brag About Your Company Culture

A lot of companies highlight their culture on their website career pages (one of our personal favorites is Shopify), but don’t take the opportunity to brag about their culture in their job descriptions.

The number one reason candidates choose one job over another is company culture. And some job seekers may not even get to the point of clicking through to your website from the job posting – so neglecting to highlight your company culture in your job description is a huge missed opportunity to attract talent looking for a workplace that offers a stellar company culture.

Does your company offer employee benefits? Unlimited vacation days? A dog-friendly office? Professional development opportunities? Flex time? Highlight them in the opening paragraph of your job descriptions – because if you don’t pique job seekers’ interest right from the start, you run the risk of them moving on to the next job.

2. Details, Details, Details

A survey found that 58% of job seekers described that lack of detail in job postings negatively impacted their application experience, which isn’t surprising. Job seekers want to know exactly what the role entails before dedicating the time to apply for a job at your company.

If you’re unsure of how to add more detail to your job description, consider including some of the following information:

  • Describe day-to-day responsibilities
  • Indicate how their role affects the overall organization
  • As mentioned above, detail culture and perks

According to Indeed, job postings with descriptions between 700 and 2000 characters get up to 30% more applicants than other job postings. So the key is making sure that your job descriptions are detailed, but not so long that they lose the job seeker’s interest. One way to keep your job description under 2000 characters (while still leaving the door open to further detail) is to provide a chatbot or other live chat feature on the careers page of your website, allowing candidates to ask further questions that they have.

3. When You Say Entry-Level, You Mean Entry-Level

This is a big one here, folks. There is absolutely nothing more frustrating for a job seeker looking up “entry-level jobs” than to click on the posting and discover…they need 3 years of experience. In fact, a recent study found that 61% of “entry-level” jobs require 3+ years of experience. That’s because employers are driving what’s called “experience inflation,” and in just a few years, job seekers will need 4 years of experience just to get their first job.

The head of the same study reviewed 1,286 supposedly entry-level jobs and had to discard 94% of them because they required years of previous experience. There is no greater killer to a job seeker’s overall candidate experience than wasting their time. Are you wasting 94% of job seekers’ time by labeling jobs as “entry-level” when the roles really require 3+ years of experience?

Not to mention, employers often hire people with +/-2 years of experience listed in the job description. So we can pretty reliably conclude that years of experience is an arbitrary role criterion. The research shows that factors like cognitive ability and personality are far more predictive of on-the-job success, anyways. So when you say an entry-level role requires 3 years of experience, are you just turning away potentially qualified candidates for absolutely no reason?

4. Keep Your Job Description Visible at Every Stage and Page

As mentioned earlier, job postings are often a job seeker’s first interaction with your company brand. While they might just seem like a document to you, a job seeker keeps them near and dear throughout the entire hiring process, consistently reviewing it.

If your top-of-funnel applicant process requires job seekers to leave the original job posting (such as requiring the applicant to complete a pre-employment assessment), you can maintain the continuity of user experience by ensuring that the job description appears on external links and pages where applicants are clicking.

Summary

To summarize, you can achieve an immersive candidate experience in your job descriptions by:

  • Listing company culture details in the first paragraph
  • Making your job postings as detailed as possible in under 2000 characters
  • Considering how many years of experience are actually required for the job, and being honest about it (i.e. don’t say “entry-level” if you need 3 years of experience)
  • Making sure the job posting is always visible to the job seeker, even when they click on external application links



Author: Emily Lambert is a Content Marketing Specialist at Plum, where she writes original thought leaders for talent experts on predictive talent acquisition and management, diversity, and the future of work.   

Kelly Barcelos is a progressive digital marketing manager specializing in HR and is responsible for leading Jobsoid’s content and social media team. When Kelly is not building campaigns, she is busy creating content and preparing PR topics. She started with Jobsoid as a social media strategist and eventually took over the entire digital marketing team with her innovative approach and technical expertise.