Sourcing Top Talent Starts with Compelling Job Descriptions

Man and woman shaking hands

A successful recruitment process begins with a clear, accurate and compelling job description that conveys the reasons a candidate should want to work there.

The foundation and most critical component of a company’s recruitment process begins with a clear, accurate and compelling job description. It determines how effective the process will be for each stakeholder — hiring managers use them to help clarify a role’s responsibilities and expectations, recruiters need them to help set their sourcing and screening strategies and job seekers rely on them to ensure their skills match those sought by the hiring manager.

However, according to a 2017 white paper by Allegis Group, many organizations are challenged to get this first step right. Perception gaps exist between employers and candidates on how effective each thinks the other is in managing this stage of the recruitment process. For example, compared to candidates, employers are much more likely to think their job descriptions are always accurate (50 percent versus 35 percent of candidates) and are always appropriately detailed (44 percent versus 34 percent).

This misalignment creates an environment where employers risk hiring the wrong people. In fact, the survey found that seven in 10 employers say employees are sometimes hired who lack the required skills.

Especially when looking to attract highly sought-after talent, getting the job description right is crucial. Katie Hartinger, a practice lead who specializes in engineering, notes that there are about four jobs for every engineer right now, especially those with experience in software and embedded systems. “Employers need to do everything they can to stand out in this environment.”

What are specific steps employers can take to write the best job descriptions?

Aim for accuracy and clarity

High-performing recruitment organizations are 1.3 times more likely to ensure job expectations are realistic and 1.4 times more likely to ensure job expectations are clear. This is important because accurate and clear job descriptions significantly impact a new hire’s success. When job expectations are aligned to the original job description, talent is nearly twice as satisfied with the recruitment process. To write meaningful descriptions, convey the role’s purpose and its connection to business objectives. Set action-based outcomes and realistic performance expectations.

Align job descriptions with expectations

Viewing a job through an actionable lens ensures accuracy and completeness while also facilitating smooth expectation-setting with candidates. High-performing recruitment organizations, therefore, are 3.3 times more likely to create job descriptions in tandem with 30-/60-/90-day plans. By revising and rewriting these two documents simultaneously, hiring managers can ensure the best chances of hiring the right person.

What do job candidates want?

Candidates say that the most important aspect of a position after compensation (73 percent) is culture/environment (49 percent). Candidates rank both compensation and culture higher than job responsibilities, which may surprise employers.

In addition, only 31 percent of employers say they always provide insight into their culture within their job descriptions. That offers a significant area of opportunity, since candidates who say job descriptions always provide insight into company culture are nearly twice as likely to be very satisfied with the recruitment process (64 percent versus 33 percent). Culture is often the intangible success factor, but it doesn’t have to be. Job descriptions that showcase cultural values in action attract employees who have the best chances of long-term success.

For example, successful talent acquisition organizations construct descriptions that articulate the company’s purpose and mission, as well as what the company values. Affirming that employees are the company’s greatest asset or that a job offers opportunities for career growth and the chance to make a difference through diverse thinking resonates with job seekers.

Stand out.

Technology has made it easier for talent acquisition professionals to identify and contact potential candidates frequently. The survey found that candidates who are actively seeking a job receive 11.2 calls or emails per month. When candidates receive this level of solicitation, a strong employee value proposition (EVP) helps to elevate one opportunity over another, notes Hartinger. “Engineers especially are attracted by the type of work and products they’ll be working on,” she adds. “But all employees want to know more about the intangibles like culture.”

Want to learn more about creating compelling job descriptions? Contact Actalent now.

Relevant Insights