Why your job descriptions aren’t attracting the best candidates

Finding and keeping a great candidate shouldn’t be hard, but employers often shoot themselves in the foot with vague job descriptions and briefs. Research by the Hay Group suggests nearly sixty per cent of HR departments blame terrible interviews and high turnover on weak job descriptions. A well-written description gives candidates a clear idea of what to expect, and recruiters an invaluable insight into which candidates to source. That means a lot less wasted time for you.

In a recent LinkedIn article, recruitment industry stalwart James Beacham shed some light on why writing good job descriptions are more important than ever: “In recent years we have seen a power shift from the recruiter to the candidate, the more quality and sought-after talent has much more option and they are shopping around for the perfect company.”

It may be time to sharpen that pen. Here are a few of the common pitfalls we’ve noticed in in-house job descriptions, which may very well apply to you too.

1. You’re not highlighting your company culture

Cultural fit is a hugely important factor in keeping employees happy and loyal, not to mention getting the right people through the door in the first place. Make your impact straight away and give your job descriptions a sense of personality that’s in line with your company’s culture. Formal, stuffy waffle won’t cut it for an edgy start-up, or for a household brand with a distinctive outlook and way of working. You should aim to give potential employees a sense of what it’s like to work for you, your company’s goals and values, and what you’re looking for in the people you hire.

2. You, HR and marketing aren’t working together efficiently

In the same research, nearly eight per cent of HR managers said they found getting a good job description from hiring managers to be ‘time-consuming’ – and nearly half felt that companies described their open vacancies badly. A HR professional’s eye is essential for making sure your job description covers the skills, competencies and behaviours you’re looking for. What candidates will also be looking for is a clear idea of where they’ll fit in, so be sure to include reporting lines and all the teams and departments they’ll be working with. Giving your marketing team (or person) some input makes sense when you consider that it’s their job to persuade, to sell stuff. Why not get them to help you sell your vacancies?

3. You’re hiding your goodies

There’s research to suggest that young professionals want to have a clear idea of their career path – and they want to scale the ladder quickly. According to Robert Walters, nine in tenMillennials put career progression at the top of their recruitment wish lists. So if your company can offer that, put it front and centre. There’s also nothing to be gained by hiding your company benefits and perks, either. If you pay less than your competitors, show all the attractive incentives and training you have available, and highlight the number of internal promotions that have been made. That will add significant weight to claims that candidates can rise quickly through the ranks.

4. You’re waffling

Be clear, specific, and to the point. Unsurprisingly, Twitter’s job descriptions meet these criteria – which brings us neatly back to the first point about being true to your company’s ethos! Take a leaf out of GOV.UK’s style guide and use succinct but informative headings, bullet points, and plain English. Avoid wishy-washy words like ‘might’, ‘sometimes’ or ‘should’. This saves recruiters and candidates from wondering about what you’re looking for, and makes it easier for candidates to imagine themselves doing the job.




Tell them you’re the best! How to sell yourself online

            When it comes to selling yourself, you don’t want to toot your own horn so loudly that you send prospective employers running for the hills. How do you stand out from the considerable crowd? Here’s how to get the right balance of writing professional, likeable and accurate profiles that […]


Six ways to boost your Facebook audience

Social media is here to stay. Facebook had an average of 2.2 billion monthly active users by the end of December 2017, and at the start of 2018 CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced some radical content changes. What are they and how can your business leverage them? A quick overview of Facebook’s changes Content posted by […]


7 ways to get eyed up on LinkedIn

The LinkedIn world is your oyster. How do you get the best out this valuable social networking platform? The challenge is trying to get the most views on your profile from the people who matter. Enhancing your visibility means taking a two-pronged approach: get involved with the conversation, and optimise your own profile. 1. Join […]


What’s set to surge in social media advertising?

Social media is a crowded place. The battle for attention spans is becoming ever more intense – and this year’s trends reflect how rapidly it’s revolving. Is your business keeping up?  Spend, spend, spend… Social media advertising budgets were up 60% in 2017 with more than 900 brands targeting their ads across Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, […]


Get LinkedIn with Recruiters

LinkedIn is the perfect platform to showcase your skills and experience to industry professionals. But with over 433 million users and over 93% of decision-makers scouting for talent, how do you stand out from the crowd? The first top tip: make your profile public if you want to be found. Here are the other six […]


Digital Revenue Engine: what is it, and why do you need it?

With the commercial world rapidly evolving online, it’s crucial to get the edge on converting customers. The Digital Revenue Engine (DRE) model is the formula to do exactly that – so here’s a rough guide to what you need to know. What the DRE does Simply put, it combines software tools and marketing techniques to […]


The bearded truth: What does your beard say about you?

For any man who sports facial hair, whether it’s a goatee, moustache, stubble, full-length beard or sideburns, how it’s worn says a lot about you. After all, people judge a book by its cover. Which begs the question: what does a beard or no beard say about the man? Let’s look at some research Men’s […]


Six ways your desk job is harming your health

Ever thought your desk job would be the death of you? The daily grind of a desk job can wreak havoc on the human body – but what are the dangers and how do you deal with them? Slouching postures and inactivity can trigger ailments such as a stiff neck, blurry eyes and a throbbing […]


Growth Hacking: The 8 skills you need to grow your business today – and why

What’s a ‘Growth Hacker’? According to entrepreneur Sean Ellis, it’s ‘a person whose true north is growth’. In practical terms, it’s a coder-slash-marketer who works quickly you grow their business. And he may have been onto something, since he used that principle to grow businesses such as Dropbox and Eventbrite, each now worth billion-dollar fortunes. […]


Who’s Big on Parental Leave?

Starting a family marks a whole new chapter in your life – but it shouldn’t mean a choice between your family and your career. Big corporations are recognising the need to get their acts together to support employees who start families. And not before time! But who’s coming top of the parental leave league tables? […]

Leaders in Marketing, eCommerce and Product Management Recruitment


Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

Crafted by FL1 Digital

We may monitor or record any communication between you and Intelligent People Limited, including telephone calls, for quality control and training purposes.