A best practice guide to writing job descriptions

The do’s and don’ts of job descriptions

When it comes to writing job descriptions, it is vital that the whole scope of what the role entails is covered and communicated in a light that will attract the top talent from the graduate pool.

At Milkround we like to share our insights with you to ensure you can achieve this candidate attraction. So, after a little analysis we’ve put together this guide to tell you what works best and what should be avoided at all costs.

Let’s start with the do’s…

Formatting is key

Applying a user-friendly format is the simplest way to make your content more readable and appealing to candidates.

No one is going to digest key points from a dense paragraph that eats up their entire screen or suddenly want to apply for a role because the title is written in capital letters.

If we think of the way in which we digest information most effectively, this is in bite size amounts displaying key but direct information.

This is easily achieved through making each heading in the job description bold, evenly spacing out paragraphs and using bullet points to list information.

We suggest you use the following sub-headings for the following reasons…

  • Job role
    • State what the purpose of the role is
  • Responsibilities
    • Tell the candidate what will be expected of them in the role
  • Entry requirements
    • The minimum expected criteria will inform the candidate from the get-go whether they are suitable enough to apply
  • Salary and benefits
    • Outline your offering to the candidate to give them more reason to apply
  • How to apply
    • Make this section as clear and concise as possible, encouraging candidates to follow one set procedure and make use of the ‘Apply’ button to ensure consistency across all your applications.
      • For email applications and when using our response management system, tell candidates to submit their CV and Covering Letter via the ‘Apply’ button.
      • For external redirects, tell candidates to visit your website via the ‘Apply’ button to submit their application.
      • For offline applications, tell candidates to click ‘Apply’ to find out direct contact details.

Be up-to-date not out of date

Too many times have old job descriptions been recycled and re-posted.

Whilst this can often be harmless it also runs the risk of displaying start dates and application deadlines that have expired.

Accuracy is essential for achieving optimum conversion rates across all job adverts.

After all, the candidates at the minimum need to know whether they can make themselves available to you in line with your start date before they hit apply.

And now for the don’ts…

Don’t include links – let the stats do the talking

Although your job description should be informative, it should not include any links or email addresses to your own company domain.

This is simply because if users are diverted to your own website whilst reading the job-description, they’re unlikely to use our built-in application form, thus making us unable to track the application performance of your job listing.

And we’re guessing you’d like to see the overall return on the investment made? So let our campaign reports provide just that.

Boot the location out the job title

Why? Locations are a mandatory requirement for all job listings, and consequently candidates are able to filter their job search by location on site.  Therefore, there is no need for duplication.

Our reports have shown that including a location in the job title makes the user less likely to click on the listing. Just like an email subject, a job title only needs to give a direct taster of what’s inside to encourage that initial click.

As a result, we think it’s preferable to omit the location from the title to allow the user to click through to the advert and read the full listing

Want more advice?

Our support team have a wealth of experience in advert editing and will be happy to advise. Advertise your jobs today by calling 020 3003 4000.

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