3199318_sDo your job descriptions consist of major objectives, essential functions, requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities, and prerequisites? Do you use them on the career section of your website, during the recruiting process, and in employment advertising? This document has more impact during the recruiting process than many realize, and it’s a mistake to use long, boring, job descriptions without personality or relevance to your employment brand.

If you’re not using dynamic, strategic job descriptions that are up-to-the minute and truly reflective of the position, company culture, and top performer characteristics you seek in candidates, you’re wasting a huge opportunity to engage top candidates and market your openings.


New Formats

Job descriptions today definitely do not have to conform to the two-page document with boring headers like “essential functions” and “summary” or “overview.” There are many formats to use to bring your open positions to life for candidates to get their attention and get them interested in and excited about working for your company. LinkedIn Talent Blog’s Maria Ignatova explains that you’ll get more responses to your job posts by using interesting job description formats adapted to your company’s voice and employer brand.

Using color and graphic design in job descriptions to define your openings and describe your culture and work environment gets candidate eyes on your postings. Rather than “Essential Functions,” headers like “What Does Success Look Like?” and big circles with “Recruiting,”  “Employment Branding,” and “Internship Program” under the company logo and position title Recruiting Manager craft an effective, compelling snapshot of your opening much better than any text-only document.

Ignatova says humor can be very effective in job descriptions/postings, giving the yoga-wear company lululemon’s funny CEO job description that went viral as an example. It starts with a brief description of when the company was founded and why and a “description” that says “You report to no one, you are the CEO (duh). You are passionate about doing chief executive officer type stuff like making decisions, having a vision and being the head boss person.”  It goes on to “a day in the life of a chief executive officer,” and “the finer print” with lists of funny yoga-related one-liners. Humor works when your employment brand is fun and hip, and it’s a compelling way to engage candidates.


Text-Only with a Twist

Text-only job descriptions still work as long as they are not dry and boring. According to LinkedIn’s Kate Reilly, job descriptions are your opportunity to grab and keep the attention of the candidates you need and you can do that with text as long as you mix it up. Use original headings like “You’re Good At:” to head the list of required skills or “We Have:” to list benefits and company culture and “You Have:” to list job requirements. Short sentences, original headings, few bullets, attractive white space, spotlights on core values and day in the life of, and compelling introductions are what works for job descriptions for 2015 and beyond.

Video Job Descriptions

Dr. John Sullivan describes a video job description (VJD) as “a short video clip where the hiring manager and team members describe the exciting aspects of a particular job” as a supplement to the standard text narrative job description. He says they will soon be the next big thing in recruiting marketing and also provide three opportunities to measurably improve recruiting results.

He says they are a compelling medium to describe your openings while putting a human view on the descriptions, as well as prompting you to re-think and re-work your existing text job descriptions and turn them into a competitive advantage. Sullivan says VJDs signal that your company is innovative and uses new technology, including social media.

What are the benefits you can expect from VJDs? They present an authentic message and project excitement rather than bore and turn off candidates. They enable you to introduce your team and your facility to candidates in an engaging way in mobile and social media platforms. They are easy and inexpensive to create and update.

If your job descriptions are in a binder on a shelf somewhere, or in a computer file directory that HR only uses when posting jobs, it’s time for an overhaul. Turn them into the dynamic recruiting tools you need by tying them to your employment brand and using new formats that attract rather than bore candidates. Use creative, descriptive language, shorter phrases and lists, and graphics and video, and watch what happens.

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