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How to Optimize Your Job Descriptions: Edgility’s Guide to Attracting Top Talent

By Dyan Sellers

One of the most under-valued, but most important parts of any job search, is the job description. While some hiring teams may see the job description as a basic tool, at Edgility, we see it as more than that. In a flooded market, a well-crafted job description serves as a powerful marketing tool for organizations seeking to attract top-notch candidates. A quality job description shouldn’t just list responsibilities and qualifications. It needs to serve as an ambassador for your company. We encourage teams to leverage this integral piece of the process, by creating a vibrant picture of their company culture and the exciting opportunities that lie ahead. 

After seeing so many organizations struggle with this, we want to share a few tried and true Edgility tips on how to put together a job description that captivates potential candidates. Ready? Okay, let’s get started. 

Essential Details to Include:

  1. Engaging Job Title: The job title is the first thing candidates see. Ensure it accurately reflects the role while being appealing. 
    • Avoid overly technical jargon and consider adding a touch of creativity to make it stand out.
  2. Compelling Company Overview: Start with a brief introduction to your organization. Highlight the unique aspects of your company – your mission, values, and culture. This sets the tone for what candidates can expect and helps them envision themselves as part of your team.
  3. Clear Job Responsibilities: Outline the main responsibilities of the role concisely and understandably. Focus on key tasks to give candidates a clear understanding of what their day-to-day work will involve. Use action verbs to make the description more dynamic.
  4. Desired Qualifications: Clearly list the skills, education, and experience required for the role. Differentiate between “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” to attract a broader range of candidates. Be realistic about the qualifications necessary for success in the position.  
    • For example, requiring a specific degree level may not necessarily correlate with a candidate’s ability to excel in the role.  Consider if a combination of education and relevant experience could be a more inclusive approach, opening the door to a broader pool of talented candidates. And remember, The Best Candidate isn’t a Unicorn.
  5. Opportunities for Growth: Showcase potential career paths and development opportunities within your organization. Highlight any training programs, mentorship initiatives, or advancement prospects. This emphasizes a long-term commitment to employee growth.
  6. Team and Company Culture: Briefly describe the team the candidate will be working with and provide insights into your company culture. Be clear about whether or not this is an in-person position, a hybrid position, or if it is fully remote.
    • Bonus: Mention any team-building activities, professional development opportunities, or unique perks that make your organization special. 
  7. Compensation and Benefits: Candidates are more likely to apply if organizations are upfront with the salary, and doing so signals that your organization is honest and trustworthy. It’s also standard nowadays to share basic information about performance bonuses, health insurance coverage, retirement plans (and whether you offer an employer match,) and paid time off. 
    • Bonus: Does your organization offer anything out of the ordinary? If so, share it!
  8. Application Process: Clearly outline the steps candidates should follow to apply. This can include submitting a resume, cover letter, or completing an application form. We also recommend that you set clear expectations for your team and the applicants by sharing a timeline for the hiring process. If things shift, make sure to alert the candidates as soon as possible to maintain transparency.
  9. Inclusive Language:  Use inclusive language to appeal to a diverse range of candidates. Avoid gendered terms that might discourage individuals from applying. 
    • Examples of outdated and gendered terms are words like “ninja” or “rockstar,” which may inadvertently convey a preference for certain gender stereotypes. Opt for neutral terms like “they” or “their” and use job titles that appeal to a diverse audience. 
  10. Contact Information: Provide a point of contact for candidates to reach out to with questions or for more information. This personal touch adds a human element to the application process.

Details You Can Leave Behind

While it’s important to provide comprehensive information, job descriptions should avoid unnecessary details. Ideally, potential candidates should be able to review all of the core information on one page. Additional pages can be added, but remember, you’re trying to stand out, so don’t overdo it.

  • Excessive Jargon:  While some industry-specific terms are necessary, avoid overwhelming candidates or causing confusion with overly technical language. First and foremost, aim for clarity and accessibility. If you need to use technical terms, provide the definition.
  • Overly Lengthy Descriptions: Keep it concise. It’s important to strike a balance between providing enough information and maintaining the candidate’s interest. To help with this, we recommend a word count of 300-700 words.
  • Superfluous Requirements: Building on our recommendation from above, don’t include qualifications or skills that are not truly essential for the role.
  • Generic Statements:  Avoid clichés and generic statements that don’t distinguish your company from others. Common phrases like “dynamic work environment” or “fast-paced team” lack specificity and fail to provide insights into what truly sets your company apart. 

Remember, a well-crafted job description comes from a well-thought-out pre-hiring process, and this element is integral to the success of your search. It can do some heavy lifting for you by attracting qualified candidates who may be a great fit, but also sets the stage for a positive and informed applicant experience. By focusing on these key components and maintaining a balance of information, organizations can effectively market their opportunities and create a lasting impression on potential hires. 

  • Ready for more? Check out this article for additional advice on stewarding an excellent candidate experience.

What’s on Your Talent Radar in 2024?

At Edgility Consulting, we’re talent professionals who are committed to equitable hiring practices and helping teams like yours find and hire exceptional people. Hiring doesn’t need to be overwhelming, and it’s time to get the support of an expert. Let’s talk about your 2024 hiring plans; we’re here to help! Contact us here.

Dyan Sellers

Meet the expert:

Dyan Sellers

  • Executive and Leadership Search
  • Recruitment Campaigns
  • Hiring Process Design & Implementation

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We believe equity isn’t a box to check. It’s a daily action. Someone’s unique identity isn’t something to overcome–when paired with the right opportunity, it becomes one of their greatest professional assets. We exist to empower social impact organizations to recognize and overcome unconscious bias, racism and sexism so they can build a workforce that reflects and strengthens the communities they serve.