It’s Time to Stop Ignoring Job Descriptions

Your biggest competitive advantage in recruiting is often overlooked and under-utilized.


stop ignoring job descriptionsI’ve been involved with recruiting and staffing in some capacity for over 10 years.  During this time, recruiters have shunned the “post and pray” recruiter – those that simply post a job, sit back and wait for the applicants to come in.

They feel that you’re not providing real value unless you’re on LinkedIn, searching today’s resume, err profile, database and mass mailing prospective candidates.

Guess what? You’re now part of the masses that are doing the same thing, day in and day out.  LinkedIn has become the new Monster – it actually has been for the past 5-8 years now.

Different tools come and go, most never stick.  So back to LinkedIn we go.  Hammering out InMails.

It’s a numbers game, right?  If you send out 100 InMails, you’re feeling pretty good if 25-30 people get back to you; 10-15 if you’re playing in the hyper-competitive software engineer sandbox.

Now tell me this….how many times have you been able to get someone’s attention, they’re interested, then you send them a link to the job description and nothing but crickets follows.  If you’re providing a link to the job description or including it in the message of your InMail your reply rate is probably even lower than this.

Frustrated, you try a different InMail subject line.  Try to make your messaging more “personal”.  Same results.  Then tell yourself it’s because everyone is recruiting on LinkedIn, so you start trying to find a new tool or place to look for candidates.


Work Smarter, Focus on the Job Description

What you should be focusing on is the role’s job description. You know, the one the hiring manager asked you for so they could just change the number of years of experience required, leaving all else the same.

I get it.  Everyone’s busy.  Just get it out there as quickly as possible and your silver-tongued recruiters will do the rest.  Get it out there so you have a place to put a link to apply to the role when you’ve been able to work your magic on the phone.

Not so much.

Recruiting is no different than marketing and sales.  You’re still dealing with people and emotions.  You’re dealing with prospects at different levels of the “purchasing” funnel.  This is where your ads and content have to turn them into leads or candidates.

A recruiter can get someone’s attention with a deftly crafted InMail, but the job description sets the hook.  It’s what gets someone truly interested in taking the next step.

As a recruiter, its important to understand this and know how to use it to your advantage.  Which means stop making more work for yourself.  Let the job description do the heavy lifting so you can do what truly adds value to the process – screening and vetting candidates before an interviewing team wastes an hour or two out of their day.

Good recruiters limit the burden hiring has on the business.  Engineers were hired to build things, not constantly interview candidates.  Sales managers were hired to increase revenue, not constantly interview candidates.  Get the picture yet?

To me, the best feeling is when I post a job and a highly qualified AND interested candidate applies because the job description grabbed their attention.  Thus, allowing me to spend my time selling the role, the company and ensuring this person is worthy of moving to the next round.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this kind of success.  In fact, if you took the time to edit and improve the job description before posting it, you’re among the minority of recruiters and recruiting organizations.  The new “post and pray” is jamming a job description out there as fast as possible so you can join the rest of the lemmings on LinkedIn.


Anatomy of a Great Job Description

The first thing that gets someone’s attention is the job title and company name.  Once you get their attention with this, the candidate then wants to see what they’ll be working on and if the role will be a step forward in their career.  Finally, they look at the experience requirements and “nice to have” skills, sizing up their own experience and skills in order to decide if they match what you (and they) are looking for and if it would be worth their time to pursue.

Your job description needs to tell a story and be clear about what someone can expect if they ultimately say ‘yes’ to an offer.  Each ‘touch’ a company has with a candidate is another step towards building trust with the candidate.  The same is true of marketing efforts targeting prospective customers.

The lesser known your company is, the more effort is required to build trust and, typically, more touches will be involved in the process.  If you work for a well-known brand, it’s more important to sell the team they’ll be working with and the impact they’ll have, which ultimately will help them advance their career.

Regardless of the type of company you work for, increasing the number of touches increases trust and is a topic for another discussion some other time.  Each touch is an investment and the more investment a candidate makes in the process, the less likely they are to bail.


Your Approach Toward “Purple Squirrels” is Wrong

It’s also important to keep in mind that it’s not just passive candidates that aren’t posting their resume on job boards and are ignoring LinkedIn.  The best of the best active candidates behave the same way.  They know if they publish that they’re looking, it will only be that much more difficult for them to filter through the noise to figure out what truly is a great opportunity.

What they will do is a quick Google or Bing search to see what else is out there.  They’ll check out Indeed or SimplyHired, if they even know about them.  If you’re a better known brand with a good reputation, they’ll go straight to your career site.

That “purple squirrel” you’re looking for is actually looking for you.  Spend the time writing a compelling and informative job description and increase your chances of being in the right place at the right time when they start looking.  When they find you, they own it, it means more to them.  It becomes more personal.  Much more personal than the email you crafted trying to prove that you actually read their LinkedIn profile.  How do you think Starbucks was able to sell $0.50 coffee for $5.00?

Recruiting doesn’t have to be difficult if you put the time in up front and you work smarter, not harder.  Craft compelling job descriptions that sell the role, organization and career opportunity for you.  Stand out among the sea of boring, similar job descriptions.

Want to find out how RainierDigital can help you gain a competitive advantage with your job descriptions?  Contact us today to schedule some time to discuss your current challenges and find out how we can help.

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