According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US unemployment rate reached a record high in April 2020 at the start of the pandemic. And according to a CareerArc study, as of 2021, 60% of full-time job employees were seeking jobs, making talent retention a top employer concern. Even if each situation is specific (sector, size, profession), recruiters are increasingly expressing shared doubts about being able to attract and retain talent in the current market.
In this new market, making a good impression is key to garnering candidate interest and standing out. As the logic goes, this initial point of contact is through the job listing. According to a LinkedIn study, job boards remain a top resource for job seekers (used by 60% of job seekers), which makes them a primary communication tool for recruiters
Developing a clear structure, establishing good rationale, defining a style, taking time on the form: There’s a lot of pressure on recruiters to write the ideal job listing. This article is here to help you formulate effective job offers for recruiting the right talent.
Why work on your job listing?
The time spent on writing up job descriptions is important. There’s a big temptation to automate the process as much as possible. But, by using a single model and not questioning their usual practice, recruiters miss big opportunities to be successful in hiring.
Face the competition
The growth of competition in the workplace is obvious and job seekers know this. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 11.3 million job openings available. It’s difficult to imagine that a boring, lifeless job description, will be sufficient to make a difference.
Be a testament to humanity
Job seekers agree: They want to be shown consideration and respect, to find humanity and meaning throughout the hiring process. By avoiding mechanical or robotic writing, you can show candidates real interest, as a form of “respect.” It’s a good starting point that will allow you to attract higher quality profiles more in line with your needs.
Share your company culture and goals
Doing a good job in terms of form and content allows you to put all the cards on the table and to find profiles that fit your company culture. In that way, you’ll limit very costly hiring mistakes, which according to the US Department of Labor can equal at least 30% of the individual’s expected first-year earnings.
It’s up to you to look at the job listing a space to express the company’s values and vision.
“Meaning, uniting around a company vision, perspectives of evolution, employability, protecting our employees…there are many non-monetary criteria that are becoming increasingly crucial. Equally, that which will have an impact on the company culture or its evolution will take preference among the young generation,” explains Franck Chéron, Associate Human Capital Consultant at Deloitte.
Our 10 tips for writing the perfect job listing
Just like with any communication strategy, it’s about establishing context for sharing the right message at the right time to the right person. There’s no miracle recipe but here are several tips for getting perspective and for turning the time you spend into an investment.
#1 Understanding your “target”
The job title, the description of its missions, highlighting any bonuses, an original tone…To identify what will capture the attention of that rare gem (in terms of form and content), there’s nothing better than the persona principle and the BFD method (Belief, Feeling and Desires), borrowed from marketing.
It’s about putting yourself in the shoes of your targets to better connect with them, whether that means understanding their priorities, beliefs or concerns when it comes to their job; their emotions or feelings given the context; and their deep motivations and personal aspirations. Once you have this profile outline, it’s easier to target your message.
#2 Make a plan (with a beginning and an end)
Like all communications assets, your job description needs to capture attention with a strong, immediate hook. Ideally, you’ll be able to leave an impression in just a few seconds. Empathy allows you to organize your arguments, keeping a balance between the rational and emotional.
Finally, your job listing should end with a clear and concise call to action, giving a final push.
#3 Stay simple and precise
No fluff and no generalizations: a good job listing should be efficient and useful. A Glassdoor survey revealed that 50% of job seekers were frustrated with job listings for their lack of information about pay and benefits.
The information that candidates expect is pretty simple : job title, roles, type of contract, salary, location, duration, start date and key skills.
Forget internal jargon, details that are too specific or an over-the-top tone. Stay professional, accessible and accurate.
#4 Write the listing as a team
To be even more precise, call on your relevant teammates to help describe the available position. As a recruiter, it’s difficult to know everything about all roles.
It’s easiest to work collaboratively and share expertise. You serve as a guarantor of the employer brand, its tone and its vision, while your teammates bring detailed knowhow, sharing operational and managerial insight. By working together to define the selection criteria for the new hire(s), (which can be outlined in the job listing), you create a stronger link with future talent.
“The process has been used for a long time in Silicon Valley to recruit engineers. Simply because HR isn’t capable of evaluating candidates’ technical skills,” explains Laetitia Vitaud, KOL on the future of work in this interview for Welcome to the Jungle.
#5 Dare to talk about salary
It’s an ongoing debate and a subject that remains taboo. However, it’s becoming more and more accepted that employers mention salary or salary range in a job listing.
Why? Because that prevents any misguidance and also shows your capacity to be transparent. Business software and service company G2 found that job listings which include a salary range got 75% more clicks than job listings that don’t.
#6 Help them see themselves as part of the team
It can be useful to humanize the job offer in its description, by introducing the team, the manager or even the recruiters. It its job listings, Shine, for example, mentions the first names of the people in its HR team.
This idea of immersion is what has allowed job boards like Welcome to the Jungle to gain traction. It allows candidates to more easily project. This is what we call “enhanced” job listings. Enriched with content (videos, photos, testimonials), the listings reveal other details that are often less visible through more traditional formats, allowing you to better target the needs and overall context of the hiring process (creating the listing, preparing for replacements or departures).
#7 Show what you’re bringing to the candidate
Decathlon does it very well. In its job listings, the title appears as direct address to talent. For example, rather than say that the company is looking for a person with good people skills, it will say, “Your mission values your people skills.”
#8 Detail the pluses
An attractive salary, unlimited vacations, good health insurance, regular trainings…It’s advisable to use the job listing as a place to explain and highlight the benefits of joining your company. They should be like a cherry on top and help target talent. Netflix does a good job of this.
#9 Build a talent pool by and talking process
By clearly formulating the listing, a job seeker that doesn’t have the right skills will understand that they’re not right for the job. That said, their profile may be interesting for future openings. You can encourage spontaneous applications or that they sign up for the newsletter to hear about future openings.
In any case, it’s important to talk about the hiring process itself or to direct candidates to your website where the steps are detailed and clear.
#10 Adapt your approach based on performance
Your listing hasn’t attracted any candidates? Are you drowning in applications? Writing a job listing doesn’t end once it’s live!
You need to keep paying attention and adapt based on feedback (from recruiters, ops team and candidates). You can then adjust the form and content of your offers.
At Maki, we’ve followed our own advice: Our listings have dynamic structure, clearly outlined information with 3 key points disguised in an intro to be more efficient, and they have a positive call to action at the end. We take the time to present the context and discuss process. Finally, we use a light, fun tone that serves the positioning of our employer brand.
Drafting a job listing is not to be taken lightly. It’s the first challenge of a successful hiring process. It is therefore important not to skimp on time. Rather, see it as a style exercise to support your employer brand image. It’s the only one way to surround yourself with the best talent and to fire up the recruitment process, which has been stalled after 2 years of the pandemic.