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.




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? […]


The Gender Pay Gap: Are Women Equal to Men?

International Women’s Day on the 8th March marks the equality rights and achievements of women across the world. But in the world of work, do women see that reflected in their pay packets, compared to their male counterparts? Is there a gender pay gap? The answer is a resounding ‘no’, according to government figures reported […]


Music to our ears: Should we listen to music in the office?

Few things can start a debate in the office like whether or not to play music. Turn on the radio and see what happens – you’ll either see ears pricking up happily, or irritated frowns. For many, music has motivational benefits that can boost productivity, and for others it serves merely as a nuisance and […]


Insider knowledge: how to compete against internal candidates

We’ll cut to the chase: it’s easier for companies to recruit internally, which makes it all the more impressive when great external candidates like you get seen. We know how disappointing it is to get shortlisted for a fantastic position, only to be told that someone on the inside has snatched it up. So when […]


Look To The Stars: Which Chinese Zodiac Sign Are You?

Chinese New Year celebrations kick off on the 16th February, marking the Year of the Dog. Let’s take a look at the twelve signs of the Chinese Zodiac, and discover what each means for your career. Year of the Rat People born in the year of the Rat are renowned for their business acumen and […]


How to Get the Social Media Love

With social media now an employment matchmaking machine, how do you get noticed in a saturated market? In the employment game, social media carries some weight. About 56% of UK-based HR professionals say that your profiles influence your chances of getting hired. We take a look at some of the ways to attract attention, and […]


Placements Overview for 2017

Please find following an overview of placements & associated salaries for 2017. Doug Bates, Director of Intelligent People, reports “The digital sector has continued to thrive & the scarcity of specialist skills across marketing, product management and commercial eCommerce roles has driven salaries upwards and continues to be a pain point for Clients; as such […]


Salary Survey for 2017

Please find following salary guidelines taken from placements in 2017 across our core markets of Product Management, eCommerce and Marketing. Growth / Acquisition Marketing Manager – £45K to £60K Growth / Acquisition Marketing Director – £75K Marketing Director / CMO – £100K – £150K Marketing Manager – £50K – £70K Senior Marketing Manager – £60K […]


Talent and Hiring Data 2017 – eCommerce and Digital Sector

Intelligent People work with the UK digital talent pool, partnering with Digital and eCommerce businesses, identifying and engaging the best possible talent to support their business growth. For the 2nd year we have conducted in depth analysis of placements within the Digital & eCommerce sector and are delighted to present our findings. In short, the […]


Employee Training: What are the benefits?

If we said to you that there’s one solid way to ensure a skilled, loyal and happy workforce, what would you have in mind? Bonuses? Employee discounts? Team days out? The answer is far less glamorous: training. We humans have an innate desire to progress, whether it’s intellectually, personally, professionally or even spiritually. Growth is […]

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.