Job descriptions. Love them or loathe them, there's no denying that they form an essential part of the recruiter's arsenal.
But is there more to job descriptions than meets the eye? In this age of recruitment marketing, when the talent you attract is only as good as the content you distribute, are you giving job descriptions the attention they need in order to deliver the best candidates?
Or are you shooting yourself in the foot by continuing to treat job descriptions with apathy, at best?
I recently caught up with advisor to Clinch, the inimitable Bill Boorman, to get his thoughts on the subject, and specifically, what he feels is required to transition a plain old JD into a piece of valuable content. You'll find a snippet of that conversation below.
So, let's take a closer look at the humble job description, and highlight some key improvements you can make in order to transform yours into a standalone piece of recruitment collateral that makes for a sweeter candidate experience, and offers value to you as a talent acquisition professional, too.
First off, what IS a job description, exactly?
A job description, or “JD,” is a formal outline of the functions and responsibilities of a particular role within an organisation.
How is a job description different from a job ad, if at all?
The two are used interchangeably, but if you want to get into specifics, while a JD should capture the expectations of a particular role, a “job ad” is a piece of marketing collateral that should instead focus on conveying why a candidate should apply for that role. "What's in it for the candidate?" is the fundamental question that a job ad should seek to answer.
What role does the job description play in a recruitment marketing context?
1. Point of Reference — Helps those within the company understand what the job is, and what the reporting lines associated with it are. A good job description will also act as a "matching tool" of sorts for sourcers and recruiters who will use it to guide their search for qualified candidates.
2. Marketing Content — The core piece of content around which all other recruiting content specific to that job is created, the job description is integral to the process of attracting talent to a particular role.The JD will also inform employee-generated content i.e. videos of and interviews with employees currently in that role. With the duties, responsibilities, and the lines of reporting clearly defined in the job description, current employees have a framework for thinking about what stories and experiences to incorporate into content that render it relevant and appealing to the right kinds of candidates.
Job description as "content": what does THAT mean?
Part of the problem with job descriptions — the reason why so many of them suck — is because not enough people tasked with creating them consider them to be anything more than a basic piece of administrative collateral. In reality, the job description is the single most important piece of foundation-level content in every recruitment marketing campaign.
For a lot of people, however, "content" is an abstract idea that can be tough to grasp. So perhaps a better way of tackling the at this is to ask, “what is required in order to transform this JD from being just another piece of corporate claptrap, to something with the potential to engage and delight candidates?”
In his recent chat with Clinch, Bill Boorman shared his recipe for transitioning a flat job description into an engaging piece of recruiting content.
Bill recommends starting with the “most in-demand piece of content from someone who is viewing that job,” and potentially thinking of applying. That is, the picture of the job. There’s no doubt that when it comes to recruitment collateral, what can be communicated through visuals, should. Help a potential candidate envision him or herself working at your company by providing an image or images of the workplace.
What Bill refers to as “the movie of the job,” can be short — a minute or two will do. What’s more important is that the video focuses on the employee — the individual who is already doing this job on a daily basis. When it comes to speaking about the realities of company life and performing the duties of a particular job, nobody is a more trusted source of information for candidates, than existing employees and specifically, the current job holder.
Lastly, think about “the story of the job.” This means written content such as blogs, employee interviews, and LinkedIn profiles, for example, generated by or showcasing current job holders — and think about how you can incorporate these assets into your job description and associated collateral.
With great content comes great candidates
Job descriptions are no longer an administrative task or a point of reference only. The good ones form the very basis of every successful recruitment marketing campaign out there.
The sooner you start to think of your job descriptions as “content” in their own right, and apply the measures needed to bring them to life, the sooner you’ll see the difference in the quality of candidates demonstrating an interest in your jobs.
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