Writing a job description to attract the best candidates

Creating a successful job advert not only serves to attract the right quantity and quality of candidates, but also helps you to really sell your position. This can put you ahead of other competitors in the market, ensuring relevant candidates choose to apply for your vacancy over other similar roles.

The job description is one of the most important parts of the job advert; you have an almost unlimited space in which to sell your position and your company. It is also the first stage in which you screen your candidates, and can help make future screening and interview stages a lot easier.

There is no perfect job description – the quality and quantity of applications depends on a number of different factors. However, you can edit your advert at any time to refine and improve it as you require.

The job description acts as a filter for candidates, so the more detailed and concise your advert is the more relevant applications you will receive.
It is worth spending a good amount of time doing some research and planning prior to writing this section. Try to think like a jobseeker and ask yourself the questions you would want to find the answers to in the job advert.

Begin by noting down a list of the main points that need to be highlighted about the position and think about the sale points and perks to be included. Valuable information can be gained by discussing the perks of working within the company and what factors attracted current employees. This will enable you to gain some feedback that you can include in certain sections of the job description.

• The Structure and Layout of Your Job Advert

The following steps below can give you a brief idea of the structure of your job advert and what to include in your job description.

• Brief Summary

The opening lines will be the first thing applicants read and so should be kept clear and concise. The overall aim is to give the reader a brief description of the job role and grab their attention. This will enable the reader to quickly assess whether they could be a suitable candidate and motivate them to read the rest of the job description. To really capture the reader’s attention try to keep this section to no more than 50 words.

• Company details

This is your chance to really promote your company and give some background information. Inform the candidate of your organization, the industry in which it is in and your work ethos.

If you are a small company, students may not have heard of you or your reputation, so make the effort to sell yourself to them and let them know why they should become a part of your company. Remember, it is the job position you are selling to the applicant, so try to keep it brief by conveying just the key information.

Within your account you can post a free company profile, which gives you the chance to give some more in-depth information about your organisation.

• Job Roles and Description

List the job roles and responsibilities that candidates will undertake. It is important to keep the candidate interested so use enticing language to make the job role sound exciting. Try to describe how the candidate will contribute to the company when listing the tasks they will be carrying out. This way they will gain an insight into how they would fit in and benefit the company.

• Person Specification

State the qualifications, experience, skills, knowledge and temperament you seek in an ideal candidate. It is up to you as an employer to decide how strict you wish to be in setting the minimum criteria for the requirements you are looking for. The criteria that you set should be high enough to screen out unsuitable candidates from applying. Please note, you can edit your advert on Employment4students at any time during your advertising. This means you can relax your criteria, or make them stricter, dependent on the quality and quantity of applications you are receiving. This is something a lot of our clients use – and editing doesn’t have to take long at all!

• Qualifications

State the academic and professional qualifications that candidates should have. It’s also worth commenting on the level and type of discipline which is required. You should always be specific here – if you want someone who has a degree, note it down. If you just want candidates to have A-Levels, again, let the candidates know.

• Candidate Experience

Do you want applicants to have any specific experience? If so, be as detailed as possible – and include what type and level of experience you desire or require. This can include both work experience and experience gained from studies and voluntary activities.

You need to ensure that you justify why a certain level of experience is required, for example to establish that the candidate is capable of carrying out particular tasks. Remember, quality of experience is more important than quantity. You may find that prior experience could just be a desirable prerequisite rather than necessary, and if this is the case mention it in the specification. This can then be used in later screening stages to help choose between short-listed candidates.

• Candidate Skills and Knowledge

Specify the skills and knowledge needed that are relevant to the job in order to carry out job tasks successfully. Include hard skills that are required such as IT skills and customer service, and also any soft skills, which are based on how a candidate can apply their knowledge to their work such as communication and problem solving skills. Again, the more detailed you can be, the more candidates will understand the job role and increase your chances of receiving relevant applications.

• Candidate Personality

If you wish to further narrow down your candidate criteria then you could mention any preferred personality traits required and how their attitudes and manners will blend into the work environment. Personal qualities should be relevant to the job and easily measured, and you should justify why these characteristics will be of advantage to the job role and in the work place.

• Incentives

In order to set your job apart from competitors ensure that you mention any key benefits and perks applicants will receive by joining the company. This will increase a candidates desire to work for the company. Examples of particular benefits include gym memberships, company discounts or even describing a pleasant working environment.
Also, if you are seeking to recruit a graduate or intern, then particular benefits to encourage applicants could include further training programmes and prospective career advancement; this allows candidates to gain an idea of where they can progress to.

It is also important to mention salary in the job description, as this one of the crucial selling points for a candidate when applying for a job. In the job description form you can enter this directly into the salary field, plus any incentives you also wish to include.

• Location

Details on job location are an important aspect for jobseekers as it is one of the main factors when choosing to apply for jobs, so it is important for you to really try and sell the location to them. When you create your job advert there is a job location field on the form for you to input details of location. Further information you could also include which may be of benefit to the candidate include mentioning specific towns and regions and nearby transport links.

• Including a call to action

Try to give candidates details of the application process and what they should do next if they wish to apply. Candidates would like to know that their applications have been acknowledged, so mention the process of getting back to them on whether their applications have been successful or not. For example, you could give an average reply time in which you will let them know.

If you have any questions, or need any help with your job description, get in touch and we’d be happy to talk through your specific requirements!

Leave Comment

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic! Please keep in mind that comments are moderated. .... 

Be the first to comment “Writing a job description to attract the best candidates”