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Want more useful candidates? Start with a more useful job description!

Between Eagle’s core staffing business and our value-adding Virtual Recruiter service, we post thousands of jobs to our job board each year.  Naturally, we’ve started to perfect the art of creating the right job description to attract the right candidates.  There’s no right or wrong way to write and format a job description, but it is a crucial component that it will get you the applicants you actually want.

If you do a quick search on any major job board, it’s easy to see that every company has their own style (sometimes strategically, sometimes by accident).  These are the most common types:

–      The standard job posting with a brief introduction to the company, role description and then some requirements.  This may be your safest bet because it’s informative and says what it has to, but it doesn’t always stand out from the competition.

–       On the other extreme, the quirky job posting that shows a company’s fun side and passion to think outside the box (or its ability to fail miserably at trying to be fun) could attract some great talent, but it may also deter some valuable professionals.

–       We’ve all seen the very long job posting that seems like the recruiter included every possible skill needed to do the job, from the core technology to knowing how to answer the phone.  It will get a few candidates, and they’ll likely be qualified and detail-oriented; however, you may also lose some high quality candidates who don’t want to read your “novel”.

–       Then there’s the very short job posting with a title and a couple sentences about the job. If you go this route, expect one of two scenarios: a lot of applicants – many unqualified – so you have to put a lot of time into screening and short-listing your candidates, or very few applicants because they don’t really know what they’re applying to.

Job applicant being interviewed and demonstrating his lies with a growing nose

Obviously each type of job description has its pros and cons – so which is right for your company?  By ensuring you use the right strategy to attract the applicants you want, you’ll minimize the effort you have to put into resume screening.

Regardless of the type of job description you use, be sure to keep a few things in mind:

–      Proof-read.  You always want to come across as though you know what you’re doing and grammar or spelling errors can destroy that impression. Remember, candidates are screening you as much as you’re screening their resumes.

–      Think carefully about your job title. You want to make sure your job appears in an applicant’s search and, even if it does, you need them to click on it. Keep your title generic with common terms.  Very few people type “Superstar Computer Whiz” or “Level II Department Manager” into a search field and those titles don’t explain the nature of the job. Try “Programmer” or “IT Specialist” instead.

–      Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is more than just Google!  It includes every job board or job aggregator where somebody may search for jobs.  Plant commonly searched terms and phrases throughout your entire job description to help it be more relevant and more likely that it appears at the top of the candidate’s search.

The right job description with a solid strategy behind it is more likely to get you the right candidates.  If you put in the work upfront, you’ll minimize the time you have to put into screening resumes and increase your chances of finding your superstar.