How to write a job description that attracts top talent

76% of hiring managers say attracting high quality talent is their top challenge for 2018. Thanks to a candidate-driven job market and shortage of ‘employable’ candidates, companies are scrambling to attract, hire, and retain quality talent. Well-written job descriptions (JD) that are informative, yet not fully revealing can be a great help here. 89% of candidates say they prefer JDs that are detail-oriented when companies or job consultancies first reach out to them. But how can companies ensure they write JDs that attract top talent and stand out from a swarm of other JDs written for similar profiles? Here are five tips to get it right:

#1 Focus on the title

Weird job titles might sound cool, but according to research words like ‘ninja’, ‘rockstar’ or ‘guru’ or even extremes like ‘best of the best’ and  ‘world class’ can put quality candidates off, besides making such job listings hard to find for most websites’ search engines. Job titles must list key skills required for the particular job and these must be written in the commonly used industry terminology, not what an organization may be using internally. For instance, ‘HR manager’ is more common than a ‘people relations manager’, making the former easier to understand and find for most job seekers.

#2 Capture highlights in a short overview

While looking for excellent job opportunities, job seekers often pore over hundreds of JDs and may not have the inclination to delve into the details if nothing catches their fancy early on. Therefore, companies must start by putting out a short, engaging, and creatively crafted overview that lists the job’s key responsibilities (not more than two) and how it contributes to making the business better. Focus on opportunities for growth and development when writing the overview as that’s the most appealing aspect for nearly 60% of millennials – the soon-to-be largest generation in the global workforce. As an example, see this JD for Software Engineer by Dropbox – it instantly makes prospects feel that they’ll be a part of something larger than themselves by working for this company.         

#3 Make JD’s inclusive

Becoming an inclusive talent brand is not an option anymore for organizations, it’s a mandate given that talent diversity, especially at top roles, directly affects the bottom line. Removing gender-biased language in job descriptions is therefore a must. Historically, industries such as tech, business, finance, healthcare, and insurance have showed a strong inclination towards using masculine action words such as ‘strong, assertive, and competitive’. Female-biased phrasing on the other hand can be seen through words like ‘gentle, pleasant, nurture relationships’. A recruitment firm analyzed 50 million of its clients’ job postings and found that removing gendered language helps fill open vacancies two weeks faster, on average, besides obviously attracting a more diverse talent pool.

#4 Make a JD video

Video that tells an impactful story through the right and relevant content is one of the best ways to capture attention in today’s hypercompetitive recruitment space. Recruitment videos or job ads are 53 times more likely to appear on the first page of Google search results and can improve a candidate’s understanding of a job description by as much as 300%. Wrike, a project management software firm adds a short video to each JD and the company says they get three emails a week that reference the job description video. Established brands such as Goldman Sachs are also finally pressing play on their video recruitment efforts to stand out in the digital age.

#5 Show your culture

At the end of the day whether a company is able to retain its top talent or not boils down to its corporate culture, making it a must to align JDs with the organizational culture. Capturing benefits, perks, and/or flexible work schedules in JDs, along with videos of ‘a day at work’ help demonstrate organizational culture, enabling prospective candidates to assess their fit before they apply.