8 Tips to Tweak Your Job Descriptions

8 Tips to Tweak Your Job Descriptions

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You don’t have to look so far. In Malaysia alone, there are hundreds of job postings found on local websites and in print. Of those hundreds, there are enough job descriptions that contain the same technical terms or overused phrases in the hopes of landing the right candidate.

Sometimes we hear about the wrong people applying or how candidates don’t seem to be adhering to the requirements mentioned in a job description. But, what if you could make a difference in the type of talent you attract? What if you knew the ins and outs of writing a good job description?

I’ll use a fishing analogy this time. When you want to catch a particular type of fish, you use a certain type of bait… something you know (or general consensus tells you) will attract said fish. You can apply the same logic when searching for the right talents (not that they are fishes in the sea of course). Cater to your preferred talent pool by customizing your job description. The answer to your hiring woes could very well be in the words you use to outline the job.

How do you tackle crafting a good job description without having to copy/paste from samples online or worse, other companies? It’s going to take some effort. Long-winded sentences are easy to write (and easy for you to throw in an industry jargon or two) but it takes time and patience to work on a succinct description that packs a punch.

Here are some pointers on developing a good job description:

Keep it simple

You want your potential hire to understand what you’re saying right off the bat. So, keep things easy to ready by using short sentences, bullet points, and catchy headings.

Do away with cliches like ‘attention to detail’, ‘result-oriented’, ‘works independently and with a team’. It is important to delete buzzwords and keep your language conversational. Don’t assume everyone reading will understand industry lingo.


Highlight what makes you stand out

Competition is tough out there. So put your best foot forward by highlighting what sets your company apart from the rest. Got creative perks? List them! This way you’re not just screening candidates that don’t fit the bill, you’re showcasing what you have to offer upfront to the type of talent you want to attract.


Inject personality into job descriptions

If you can make potential hires smile or laugh – you’re one step closer. They will be more likely to send in an application if they can relate to your copy. For example, look at the way iflix describes their working environment.

Shine by showcasing your company’s culture and core values in the way that you write and your word choice. The ‘right words’ will easily come to you when you use the same tone of voice to communicate.


Broaden the focus of your talent search

Don’t dismiss the graphic designer applying for the role of product manager just yet. In fact, the lawyer who applied for the writer’s position could just be the missing piece to your team. When you narrow your focus too much (language preferences/ethnicity/education background/location) instead of focusing on a person’s skills, you risk losing out on great talents.

In this case, it is equally important not to over qualify the available role. Instead, list down your expectations and the job’s responsibilities clearly.


Obvious? Leave it out

On your way here you probably came across articles with samples for different job descriptions. Sure, it would be much easier to work off a ready template or simply use terms that are already crafted. But what does this tell your potential hires? That you didn’t care enough to craft a proper job description?

That and more, actually. It is easy to spot a job description is copy/pasted or sounds familiar..those on the job hunt have only read about more than a dozen of them so far. You could also exclude the paragraph about the company as your potential hires will definitely be visiting your website to learn more about everything you do.


Include applicable information

Instead of jotting down a list of overused, generic skill set, give your potential hire a more well-rounded view of the job at hand. In your description, share your definition of success in that particular role.

If it’s possible, try to include a salary range in your job description. The more information you are able to provide potential hires upfront, the better. They, in turn, will be able to make a more informed decision.

While you’re at it, mention the attributes of a top performer and describe what a day in the life would be like. This will help you streamline your potential hires from the word go. And it ensures that the people who get shortlisted know what they are getting themselves into.


Write and edit with precision

Keep clarity in mind while you are writing job descriptions and when editing too. Your goal is to be understood. You don’t want to sound too fancy or your points could get lost in translation.

When you are done editing to sound clear, leave the job description aside for a day or two before going over it once again. This will help you to easily spot redundant statements, technical jargon and the like. Always proofread rigorously before the job posting goes public.


Double checked? What’s next

Another tip to keep in mind is to write job descriptions with one’s mobile presence in mind. The tech-savvy are constantly on their phones – on the go. It would be difficult to digest big chunks of text or long paragraphs on a small-ish screen.

Add a call to action at the end of your job description so the talent pool knows where to head next. In addition to posting the job opening on your website, share it within relevant communities such as groups on LinkedIn or Facebook.


Bonus tip: You can also include a social sharing feature on said job post and encourage members of your staff to share it.


Think your job descriptions fit this bill? Post your job openings on Jobstore.com today and reach 50 job sites with just one submission! 


8 Tips to Tweak Your Job Descriptions

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