Did you know that putting ‘competitive salary’ when writing a job description will result in 20% less applications?

Why should you? Writing the job advert usually falls to the line manager but it’s not something you write every day – it may only be two or three a year for some.

HR often provide the templates but that’s not to say that they work. For example, a compelling Employer Value Proposition is essential if you want candidates to click on your a job advert. But we’re sometimes asked to help line managers tell them what to say here, even though it’s usually an HR/marketing thing.

So if you want to attract the best talent (and quickly), here’s how to write a winning job description (even if you’re starting completely from scratch).

1. Captivate the reader

71% of employees would take a pay cut to work for an organisation with similar values to themselves (LinkedIn research, via People Management).

The job title and salary are the first thing that candidates see, so they need to be what they’re looking for. However, you may have no control over the salary (or the fact that you’re located in the middle of nowhere, near no major cities…).

Most job sites will include a brief three or four line overview of the role. Make sure you sell the role in those first opening lines, so candidates want to read more about what’s on offer. Align it to their emotional needs as this is the best way to differentiate.

Tip: Some job sites will automatically pull through snippets from within your job description – not necessarily from the opening statement. Have a play around with your ad to maximise the impact of those first few sentences.

Win the war for talent with our step-by-step Employer Branding Checklist

2. Stick with a simple title

The job title is the first thing a candidate will see (along with the salary on offer), so make it work for you.

  • Use standard titles that candidates would search for.
  • Unless it’s industry-standard, avoid acronyms.
  • Be precise.
  • If you’re hiring for multiple roles, use multiple job adverts. Don’t be tempted to save by throwing every title into one job advert, as candidates may then think that a job is below or above them.

3. Carry out a salary survey

Benefits like remote working can certainly help you achieve more with less. Yet as the “Hierarchy of Needs” pyramid above shows, to be able to differentiate on emotional needs, you must offer some foundational rewards of contractual and experiential rewards.

It’s therefore important to carry out salary benchmarking. If you’re recruiting within Supply Chain & Procurement, Retail or Logistics & Transport then our Salary and Benefits Survey 2020 should help. It lists both average salaries and the benefits that candidates in each sector are looking for.

4. Salary – be attractive (and don’t be vague)

“Jobs with a salary displayed on the job ad attract up to 20% more applications”.

(Total Jobs Research)

Don’t list a ‘competitive salary’ or a wide salary range. Get specific and you should see your application rate increase.

5. List your benefits and perks

“Nine out of ten employees (89 per cent) claim that remote working is their number one motivator to boost their productivity at work”.
Data published by HSBC, as reported on Workplace Insight

Aside from the obvious ones, are there any that make you stand out from the rest e.g. flexible working, remote working or even duvet days and regular socials?

6. Make sure the basics are right

We’ve seen plenty of jobs advertised with typos and grammatical mistakes, so run your job description through a tool such as Grammarly and then get someone to proofread it for the human touch.

Many people apply through their mobiles, so remove any potential barriers:

  • A mobile-optimised job advert is a must.
  • Can applicants upload CVs from the cloud?
  • Can they complete applications easily on the go?
  • Is there enough white space to make it easier on the eye?
  • Have you used bullet points and short paragraphs to make it easier to read on mobile?

7. Improve your employer brand

“…employer branding, focused on helping applicants make better decisions about whether to apply rather than just promoting the organization as a great place to work, can increase the quality of the applicant pool by 54 percent and quality of hire by 9 percent.”
CEB Recruiting Leadership Council via Gartner

Your job advert is often no longer the first touch point a candidate will have with your employer brand. Are you doing enough to help promote your employer brand?

Find out the steps you need to take to improve your employer brand with our handy Employer Branding Checklist.

There are many elements to writing a great job description but hopefully these should help. However, if you find yourself struggling, call us on 0333 121 3345 or email hello@castuk.com and we’d be happy to help.