Sasha FedunchakNovember 08, 2018
Topics: Recruiter Experience

Series 1 of 3 Big Problems in Recruitment (And How to Solve Them!)

As workplaces evolve and technology advances, you'd think that the recruitment process would become more effective, too.

Unfortunately, the reality is complicated. A changing economy, greater job seeker expectations to have a world-class candidate experience, and the lowest unemployment rates since 1969 have made attracting, hiring, and retaining top talent a major challenge for companies of all industries and sizes.

There are countless opportunities in talent acquisition, but in this series, we're highlighting the top three pain points we hear most often from our customers and industry experts. But don't fret - you'll also learn five ways to combat each problem in your own organization.

The three big problems in recruitment are:

1. Ineffective job descriptions (Not everyone needs to be a "rock star")

2. Lack of strategic time (Because recruitment is more than filling seats)

3. Inefficient HR tech (!)

Problem #1: Ineffective Job Description Strategy

We're in a candidate's job market, so it's critical to remember that your posting is likely swimming around in a red ocean, waiting to be plucked out of an over-saturated sea of opportunities. Not getting quality candidates (or, let's be honest, any candidates) to click "Apply Now"? One of the fastest ways you can take your hiring strategy from zero to hero is to look at your job description strategy.

Here are five strategies you can implement immediately to start seeing more bites.

Lose the buzzwords, include more details.

Words like "unicorn," "guru," and "rock star" are like that annoying residual speck of glitter after a craft project. It's distracting, annoying, and most of the time you don't even know where it came from. Yes, candidates want to feel special, but they're also savvy shoppers. They're realistic and they're looking for a place to thrive. Buzzwords paint a confusing and typically unrealistic picture of the day-to-day responsibilities.

Instead, include more specific details in both the job title and the description. Be sure to include things like top searched keywords, daily responsibilities, years of experience, and how the role contributes to the organization. Providing a clear picture of the role's expectations and the opportunity for growth are what help a job seeker visualize themselves in the role, upping the chances that the most qualified candidate will apply.

Stop recycling old job descriptions.

This relates to our first point of getting the job description copy right, but before you even start writing it, you have to understand the real organizational need for the position. Oftentimes, hiring managers will say they need "position X" hired, and an old copy of "position X's" job description is pulled and slapped on a career site or job board. It's no wonder, then, that the hiring process drags on and on as the hiring manager can't seem to find the right fit.

Instead, spend some time closing the gap between what a hiring manager thinks they need, and what they actually need. In the initial intake meeting, use the old job description as a jumping off point, but make it a priority to leave the meeting with at least three changes to it:

  • What capabilities have evolved in the team since the last hire for this position?

  • How has the organization changed?

  • What's the growth potential for this role?

A fresh, updated perspective will attract the right talent and save you time and energy.

Include a visionary company description.

At the bottom of most job descriptions, companies will list off their awards, achievements, or standard boilerplates. Bo-ring! Spoiler alert: Employees don't really care about what you've done and they aren't your investors.

Instead, share a story about where the company is going by answering some of these questions:

  • What are the core values or principles that shape the culture and the success of the company?

  • What is the mission of the company and how do employees contribute to it?

  • What are the opportunities for advancement and growth (into new industries, cities, countries, or roles)?

These are the elements of an engaging and inspiring company description that excite a job seeker to apply (or at the very least, learn more).

Job Description Strategy by Phenom People

Share the "What's In It For Me" (WIIFM).

Most jobs include the basic benefits, salary/compensation package, and perks of the position. That's great and all, but "basic" doesn't help you stand out in that red sea we mentioned earlier. Additionally, more employees are looking at the experience at a specific job or employer, and a "salary with two weeks vacation" isn't enough to reel them in anymore.

Instead, get creative with how you talk about your company's benefits package. Even if it is pretty basic, you can spruce up "Two weeks vacation" to sound more like "Fourteen glorious paid days for you to recharge and rejuvenate away from the office." Or, turn "Paid volunteer time off" into "Get involved and give back to the community for up to 16 paid hours, on us." These tweaks help the potential candidate instantly see WIIFM.

Write for mobile!

Long paragraphs are the death of anything digital in the world of words - be it a blog, email, or even job descriptions. You can bet that when a job seeker starts to anticipate a long scroll, their fingers are likely going to be swiping elsewhere.

Instead, optimize your job description for mobile applicants. That means using shorter paragraphs, bolded headers or sub-headers (where possible), and short bullet points. Even more effective than pretty paragraphs are videos and photographs. Remember, the name of the game is quality, so leave the blurry back-of-people's-heads shots behind.

However, smartphone capabilities to take and edit genuine photos and short videos (for free!) are a great alternative to complicated and costly video production. You never know how a 20-second employee testimonial or two could revolutionize your talent acquisition efforts!


What do you think about these five tips to help with your job description strategy? Which have you tried, or which are you willing to try? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

And, stay tuned for the second part of this three-part series, which will blow your mind on how to solve for a lack of strategic time in your talent acquisition strategy.

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