Here at movemeon, we advise every single customer on every single job description. Why? Because we have millions of data points to show what is effective (at engaging the target candidate), and what isn’t.
Bear with me while I make an analogy to Diet Coke. Or any other consumer product for that matter.
Feel free to picture your favourite snack, washing powder, drink or toothpaste. Now picture the advert for that product. And think about why it draws you in. By and large, it’s not the long list of ingredients that’s at the forefront of this marketing. It’s a well-crafted, concise sell story that resonates with you emotionally.
And that’s the crux. Job descriptions for the purpose of marketing an opportunity need to be treated like consumer marketing campaigns.
Now what does that mean for the content? It means there needs to be far more about the company and the team that engages candidates on an emotional “this is why you would like to work here” level. And far less about the detailed responsibilities of the role (commonly this represents ~50% of job descriptions when really a 5 bullet point summary is sufficient – you can cover the detail in an interview). It also means you should keep it concise (good ads are rarely lengthy).
So, what does your target candidate commonly want to know?
Put yourself in their shoes and the following should make sense:
- What is the vision and opportunity for the company over the next 2-5 years (i.e., the period relevant for the new hire)? And what’s been the very recent success story along this path? This is very different to a description of the company.
- What might surprise people to know about the company? Here is your chance to bust some myths or probable misconceptions.
- Who will the candidate be working for and with? How big’s the team? And what are their backgrounds? What’s the cross-functional exposure? Who’s the boss and what’s their reporting line to board? People like to be able to identify with their prospective colleagues (what makes work most enjoyable is more often than not the people one works with).
- If someone does well in this role, what can progression look like? And what recent examples are there of that? Ambitious candidates need to understand their career prospects (and, commonly, consultants in particular are looking for stepping stones into a different type of role; and for companies, these teams (e.g., strategy) are seen as a talent pipeline for the business).
- What’s it like to work there? Is there a clear company culture? What’s the work-life balance (number 1 driving factor in leaving consulting)? What’s the commute like? What’s the pension, parental leave like? All stuff that impacts your target hire’s life.
Hopefully, this is starting to make some sense. So the next time you write a job description (for external marketing rather than internal sign off) put yourself in the candidate’s shoes and try to market the opportunity, rather than describe the job and list the likely experience of the candidate. You will be surprised by the impact. And if you’re working with movemeon, we can support you every step of the way in articulating your opportunity in a way that will resonate with the audience you are trying to engage.