Job descriptions serve as the initial connection between your company and prospective employees, holding a crucial function in the recruitment process. Smart employers understand the significant impact their job postings have on attracting top talent. If your job posting fails to captivate job seekers and encourage applications, it will adversely affect your hiring timeline and overall outcomes. Crafting job postings is easier said than done! Hence, we’re here to help you with a comprehensive list of fifteen common job posting mistakes you should avoid to ensure your job posting garners the attention of the most suitable candidates.
1. Avoid titles like Dr Fix or Lord of All Things Technical
The debate over whether quirky job titles like 'Customer Service Ninja' attract talent has been ongoing. However, it's generally advised to avoid such titles. While adding a touch of humour can be effective in grabbing attention and challenging expectations in job descriptions, this type of wordplay can confuse and discourage candidates. Moreover, it hampers search engine optimisation (SEO) and discoverability, as candidates may not be searching for unconventional titles. So, it's best to steer clear of advertising for gurus, evangelists, wizards, warriors, or rockstars of any kind.
2. Shorten the job description: Less is more
In the realm of job descriptions, it's crucial to strike a chord between being thorough and concise. Lengthy descriptions won't sway candidates in the limited time you have. Whether you rely on ChatGPT or not, craft a captivating job description that hits the sweet spot—informative yet concise. Ditch the fluff and stick to the hard facts and vital data. Candidates seek to gauge the job's worthiness, and your mission is to expedite their journey by swiftly providing the necessary information.
3. Avoid including a never-ending list of responsibilities
Piling up responsibilities and goals will turn the job into a jumbled mess, leaving candidates scratching their heads. No one wants to decode an overwhelming list. Instead, zero in on what truly matters and focus on a handful of laser-focused goals that paint a clear picture of the role. Aiming for a neat package of four to six bullet points hits the bullseye.
4. No poor grammar please!
Imagine hiring someone with a CV riddled with errors. Well, the same goes for job descriptions. Top talent values their worth and views mistakes in your descriptions as red flags, especially in this age of Generative AI. Don't shy away from leveraging tools like ChatGPT or Grammarly to proofread before publishing your work into the realm of cyberspace. Seek a second opinion. Let the office grammar enthusiast (we all have one) meticulously comb through for any sneaky mistakes that might have slipped through the cracks.
5. Avoid filler words
Words such as 'really', 'just', 'very', 'extremely', and 'so' don't amplify your message; they weaken it instead. If you catch yourself repeatedly tempted by filler words, take it as a sign to flex your lexical muscles and opt for stronger word choices. For instance, consider revamping your verbs. For instance:
A - We're seeking someone who can really understand prospects' business goals.
B - We're seeking someone who can dissect and qualify prospects' business goals.
6. No gender-biased language
Beware of using terms like "strong," "competitive," and "chairman" (or other male-specific titles) as they not only deter female candidates but also undermine your diversity initiatives. Research demonstrates that female professionals are significantly less inclined to apply for roles featuring these "male-sounding" words in their job descriptions. On the flip side, using words like "nurturing" or "sensitive" can dissuade male candidates from applying, thereby restricting your talent pool. Give your job descriptions a thorough review to identify these "biased" words and replace them with neutral language whenever feasible.
Quit using third-person language
Ditch the habit of using third-person language in job advertisements. It creates a sense of detachment between your company and potential candidates. Instead of feeling personal or friendly, it comes across as cold and overly formal. Opt for first and second person, incorporate 'you' and 'we' in both the job description and advertisement. By doing so, you'll foster a warmer and more engaging connection.
Exclude negative words and jargons
Crafting a job ad or description is almost a form of copywriting, and with it comes a set of rules. One such rule is to steer clear of negative words. This includes not only words that carry an initial negative connotation but also those that imply instructions or directives to candidates. For instance, words like 'must,' 'never,' 'always,' 'strict,' 'can't,' etc. Instead, opt for words that don't sound absolute or authoritarian.
Another pitfall to avoid is excessive jargon. While you might assume that using jargon is acceptable when targeting professionals, it can actually invoke feelings of insecurity and incompetence. Opt for plain and straightforward language to ensure a more positive response.
Just as your branding ought to maintain consistency across diverse media platforms, the same holds true for your job advertisements. Candidates perusing the job description not only seek alignment with their skills but also seek insights into your organisation. Utilise your brand voice to convey your employer brand, showcasing a contented and motivated community as well as your core values. Introduce them to your unique world!
Don't have unrealistic expectations
Don't go chasing unicorns—‘a candidate with 15 years of web development experience, youthful enthusiasm, and an impeccable design sense’. Such expectations can frighten away suitable candidates. Instead, focus on prioritising your requirements and spotlighting only the most crucial responsibilities associated with the job.
Incorporate salary information
Gone are the days when salary information held little significance. Nowadays, it is a common expectation for candidates to find a wage range in the job description or advertisement. This insight helps them gauge the nature of your company and assess if it aligns with their desired salary. If candidates cannot find salary details, they are more likely to divert their attention to other job opportunities that offer greater transparency regarding remuneration. Even if this aspect may not hold paramount importance for you, it carries significant weight for your candidates.
Don't forget to add social media handles
Including social media handles in your job description can be a smart move in today's digital age. By adding these handles, you provide candidates with a direct link to your company's online presence and invite them to engage further. It not only demonstrates your company's transparency but also allows candidates to gain valuable insights into your culture, values, and overall brand image.
Consider age inclusivity
Be mindful that job applicants come from various age groups, and not all may grasp complex terms like ‘procurement’ or KPIs.’ When crafting job descriptions for interns or entry-level positions, steer clear of jargon that could bewilder younger or less experienced candidates.
Optimise job descriptions for search engines
Optimising job descriptions for search engines is a crucial step in attracting the right candidates. By incorporating relevant keywords and phrases, you can improve the visibility of your job postings. Consider using:
- Industry-specific terms
- Job titles
- Key qualifications, etc to optimise your descriptions.
Additionally, structuring your content with clear headings and bullet points can make it more search engine-friendly. This will help you in increasing the chances of reaching a larger audience and attracting qualified candidates.
Embrace the power of a page-grading tool
Even if you possess keen attention to detail, it's easy to overlook certain aspects, especially the technical aspects you'd rather not think about. By utilising a free Page Grading tool, you can gain an additional level of analysis that gives you a competitive edge. Within seconds, these grading tools assess your job page against a comprehensive set of criteria to determine its level of optimisation. They can help you identify any jargon, discriminatory or negative language, while also evaluating critical elements such as page load speeds. Try out the Job Page Grader, a completely free tool. Simply copy and paste your job post URL to get started and unlock valuable insights to enhance your job listings.
Stay tuned to People Matters for more information on job postings.