For recruiters, one of the most critical marketing tools is the job description. Here are some tips to help you pull in great candidates.

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Most people have no idea how much marketing is involved in recruiting. Candidates market themselves via their résumés, of course. But for recruiters, one of the most critical marketing tools is the job description.

Why is it that so many candidates complain that job descriptions are too vague or don’t give an accurate representation of a job?

Compliance requirements, such as those from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service (USCIS), have forced recruiters to be more detailed about specific minimum job requirements than before. But that doesn’t mean job descriptions need to read like they’ve been lifted from the pages of “Congressional Quarterly.”

Here are some tips to help you polish your descriptions to pull in great candidates.

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Keep it fresh
If you use any sort of a job library, you may be recycling old, dated content that needs to be refreshed, updated and personalized for each job posting. As Seattle’s job market continues to become more competitive, the public-facing marketing tool we use the most to attract top talent needs to reflect candidates’ wants.

Be specific
Tell candidates about not just your company, but also the business unit or division where the position resides. If it is an operations role, talk about the internal clients and how the organization fits together. How big is the team? How is it structured? Who will they be working with the most?

Don’t make your posting a lackluster list of duties
Just as recruiters are looking for accomplishments on résumés, candidates want (and deserve) to know what they will be able to own, as well as what they will be accountable for. Give them concrete examples. They want to know they will be rewarded with more responsibility and opportunity as they perform well.

Go beyond the skill set
Don’t just say that ideal candidates will have more than six years of experience in their discipline; tell them they will have a background in a global company, a startup atmosphere or whatever you have found best mirrors the hires who have been most successful.

Highlight your company’s personality
Include information on your corporate culture in job postings. Is your company quirky? Do you have unusual benefits? Do you have an annual ping-pong contest? Do you offer some sort of social-responsibility program? Tell them why your organization is fun or engaging, and what makes you an employer of choice in the market.

It’s a two-way street
Today’s candidates care more about the company culture, training and advancement opportunities, and their potential interactions with colleagues than anything else. Paint a clear picture including details about why they would want to work for you, rather than a dry, dull laundry list of must-haves. Make sure candidates know that your organization values the two-way relationship created when someone joins the team.