Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Struggling to recruit? The difference a good job description makes.

 Alina Cooper
This is a guest post by Alina Cooper from FitLinks, see below for more details.

Do you find yourself with a low volume of candidates? Or perhaps the quality just isn’t there?
These problems are unfortunately far too common and many employers are left baffled as to why they have been unsuccessful.

The answer is often quite simple and with a few small tweaks you can make a really big difference. In fact, one of our clients saw a 328% increase in applications in just 24 hours!

So, where to start?
When reviewing the performance of a job advert there are two key factors to consider:

1. The Job Description

With so much competition for top talent and so many companies recruiting for the same role it is essential that your job description stands out from the rest. Ask yourself, why should the candidate choose your company over the competition? What makes you different?
Remember, you have to sell to them as much as they have to sell to you!
As the industry grows and diversifies it will be even more important for companies to convey their wants, needs and culture via their websites and other digital touchpoints — and this includes job descriptions.

2. The Package

When applying for a new job, salary is still the number one factor that influences a candidate’s decision.
Setting a salary can be tricky. On one hand, you want to pay enough to get the best possible talent. On the other hand, you don't want to overpay.
The first thing to consider is how much value will this person bring to the company? Remember, a salary is like any business expense, it's an investment, and you should get a return.
The second factor to consider is what your competitors are paying. As we’ve already outlined competition is tough and you need to be able to compete!
And lastly, you need to be realistic. If you want to attract good talent, then you need to pay them fairly. If your budget isn’t ideal for the level of role you were originally recruiting for then you may need to reconsider the position and realign your expectations.

Top Tips for Job Descriptions

With all of this mind we wanted to help you bring everything together and share our top tips for writing job descriptions that effectively communicate your company's available positions, the requirements for applicants and the culture within your business:

1. Stand Out

Before you even start writing your job description you need to understand who you are looking for. What qualities do they possess, what qualifications are needed but most importantly what message do you think would interest that person? Each job description for each different role within your business should be personalised to the ideal candidate. The language and tone that would attract a personal trainer will not be the same as a Sales Manager.
Once you are clear on this information you then need to put together an attention grabbing opening line. Remember in most ads, this is all they will see initially, so it has to stand out.

2. Don't forget the Essential Details:

  • Job Title And Summary – Advertise the position that you wish to fill along with a detailed, but concise summary of what that position entails and why it is valuable to your company. Always avoid writing a long list of job responsibilities, this will not attract candidates.
  • Skills and Qualifications – Write down 3-4 key skills and qualifications that are required of the applicant in order to be considered for the job. For the skills avoid using generic and cliché language. Everyone is looking for a ‘hard working’ and ‘motivated’ ‘team player’, there is no need to state the obvious. Instead focus on the attributes that will really make a difference in your business.
  • Employment Type – You should indicate the nature of the vacant position. Is it a full-time job or a part-time job? Will the people you hire be paid or not? You don’t want to mislead your potential applicants so it’s best to be transparent at the start.
  • Salary – When it comes to the salary it's best to be transparent and either provide the exact figure or a range. This will ensure you attract the right level of candidate and avoid wasting time interviewing people who do not fit the bill.
  • Benefits - In a recent survey, 60% of job seekers stated that an attractive benefits package is very important to them, so here is your chance to showcase what you offer. Whether it be holiday entitlement, pension plans, healthcare or gym membership, candidates will want to know.
  • Company Location and Contact Information – This includes office address, mailing address, email addresses, contact numbers, social media platforms, and the like. You should give them a simple and easy way to apply for a job with your company.

3. Be clear, concise and keep it short 

Remember this is a sales pitch so it should be punchy and to the point.

  • Use bullet point when possible - No one likes lots of texts. Bullet points make it easier to skim for candidates.
  • Be Specific - Avoid using vague descriptions and cliché language. Be transparent and use the job description to provide the candidate with an insight into your business. 
  • Show your personality as a brand. Choose a writing style and words that match your company’s brand and ethos. Don't be afraid to be different. The end goal is to attract the right people for the position so you need to resonate with the right candidates.

Alina Cooper is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of FitLinks, working to address the challenges of recruiting good staff in within the health and fitness sector. Fitlinks provides an innovative, intuitive online job board, a talent matching service, an applicant tracking system, and dedicated account management. Find out more at www.fitlinks.co.uk.

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