How to Write a Job Listing That Attracts the Right Candidate

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Job descriptions are longer than ever, and today it’s not uncommon for an employer to list 10 or more bullet points in the requirements section of a job posting. While most small businesses would like to get the best out of a single employee, in the long run, pushing them to the max will harm both your team and your company.

Here are some of the top reasons why the ever-expanding job description is hurting your company and your candidates.

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How long job postings sabotage the hiring process

First, long job descriptions can cause qualified candidates to drop out of your hiring pool. Applicants may assume that they are overwhelmed and prefer to apply for positions that align their expertise with a more limited role within a company.

Prospective applicants could also assess their ability to be successful in a position if they are missing one or more job roles in the requirements section of the posting. If they are a good fit for most of the job’s requirements but fail to meet some of the other “essential” functions, a good candidate may not apply at all.

Many people don’t apply for a job unless they meet 100% of the qualifications. This means that by creating a job description that is too long, you risk missing out on a large portion of potential job seekers.

Even if you find an employee who ticks all or most of the boxes you’re looking for, pushing them to the max will eventually lead to burnout. In the post-pandemic world, employees are less tolerant of overwork, and if you expect too much from an individual, you risk higher turnover, a poor work environment, and damaged company reputation.

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Long job descriptions are counterproductive for the overall productivity of your company in the long run. Here are several ways to write job descriptions that will attract the right candidates and help your company thrive.

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1. Be specific when writing a job description

When creating a job description, be specific about the duties and responsibilities of the position and keep your list of requirements to a minimum.

Before writing your job description, think about what you actually need from a new hire and briefly familiarize yourself with the responsibilities of the position. You optimize your hiring pool by taking the time to think carefully about what is required of the position and making those expectations as clear and concise as possible.

Avoid vague or generic terms that could lead to misinterpretation, and try not to use technical jargon or acronyms. This will help busy applicants to immediately understand what you are looking for so they can decide accordingly if they are a good fit for the job.

2. Be realistic about essential features in the role description

Make sure the job title and requirements section of your job posting accurately reflects the level of responsibility and expertise required for the position you are seeking to fill. Consult with your existing employees to see what skills are actually needed on a daily basis and ask how a new employee can make them more effective at their jobs.

Review and revise job descriptions each time you hire a new employee to ensure they reflect the real needs of your company at that particular point in time.

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3. Hire more ideal candidates

When an employee changes, it is now common to transfer their previous responsibilities to existing employees. This is tempting because it avoids the time-consuming hiring process and saves you time onboarding a new hire. You can also likely pay less than you would otherwise have had you hired someone to fill the role.

While it’s tempting, you should be careful on hiring a new employee whenever one of the team members leaves the company. If you make a habit of spreading the responsibilities of previous positions across your team, burnout is very likely. If you may be promoting existing employees to higher positions, make sure someone takes their place.

Hiring specific roles for each responsibility can ease everyone’s burden. It should help create a healthier work environment and give everyone the space to do their jobs efficiently. Once you stretch the role of a position too far, you lose more than you win.

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4. Give employees time in their new roles

Again, hiring and training new employees is time-consuming, but it’s important to give them the space and support they need to adapt to the new role. Patience with new team members pays off in the long run because if you give them time to settle into their roles, they’ll be more confident and efficient at their jobs.

Use each new setting as a reset. Evaluate what responsibilities your former employee has assumed and consider whether your new employee should really be responsible for them. Re-employment is an opportunity for restructuring, so seize this opportunity to reorganize and refine the work tasks in your company.

5. Create a supportive work environment

An environment where people are overworked is not good for anyone, nor is it good for your company’s bottom line. If you put too much strain on your employees, this ultimately leads to burnout, dissatisfaction and higher turnover.

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It is important to create a supportive environment so workers feel comfortable asking for help when they need it. This could mean hiring more staff so everyone in your workplace can have a more balanced life and, in turn, be better at their jobs. The goal is to prevent people from feeling like they have to do more themselves and to ensure that someone else is available to support them when they have too much on their plate.

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6. Keep job requirements to a minimum

If you want an effective job description, try to keep each section of the ad between 6 and 10 bullet points. Research shows that keeping the bullet points in your requisition within this range maximizes the number of qualified candidates who apply.

If you absolutely must list more than 10 skills, keep them outside of the requirements section of the post. Instead, add a section like “desired features” or “additional bonuses.” That way, the right talents are not put off by the number of responsibilities and requirements, knowing that these are traits that are beneficial but not necessary. Structuring a job description like this will empower applicants if they have some of the added bonuses, but won’t discourage them from applying if they don’t.

Stop the expansion trend

Don’t follow the current trend of expanding your job descriptions, as this will make life as a small business owner more difficult in the long run. Think critically about the skills you need in a new hire and write concisely what type of applicants would be a best fit. Use the hiring opportunity to structure your workforce more efficiently and logically and make the most of this unique opportunity to create a people-centric company that benefits everyone.

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