When it comes to writing job descriptions, it’s key to remember that, above all, they are job advertisements. For that reason, they need to sell. That may be a weird word choice, but this is exactly what you’re doing when you want to attract new candidates to your company. A job ad, like any other ad, must be catchy and also reflect something that your target audience (this being, the type of people you want to attract through your ad) wants to have.

Most of the job postings we see are a plain list of requirements and qualifications, and although these should always be included, that’s not the gist of it. Many people forget to list out perks and benefits, which are some of high value to most workers.

We have a few ideas on how to make a job description that will attract the right kind of candidates!

Define your audience

Think about who you’d like to hire, who is the employee your company needs. Defining your target will help you narrow down the amount of applicants you will be getting. The ones that come around will be the type of employees you have been looking for. Think of it as a filter, as a possible applicant is reading the description they will either discard it upfront or start ticking off all the boxed with the qualifications they meet.

A good title is everything

Having a killer title that’s eye-catching is a great way to start. This is the first thing applicants will see, so it must be one to remember! The title must contain the position you are looking to fill and one or two things that make this specific job exciting for applicants.

Keep it simple

Keeping your job descriptions simple will also attract more candidates, you must remember to highlight why this job specifically will be good for them. If possible, this should be at the start  of the ad.

Add an introduction

It’s always a great idea to start the description by talking a bit about your company, add the most relevant details and anything that will make your company sound like a great place to work (exactly what it is!). Something else to add are the employee perks, your employees want to know how much they will earn, and which benefits they’ll have. It’s similar to marketing to a customer, they want to know what they will really get out of the job.

List the requirements

Adding a bullet list of what your ideal candidate needs in order to qualify is a must, but try to spruce it up. Include details about duties, work hours, pay, and other relevant details alongside qualifications. Make sure you distinguish between minimum requirements and preferred requirements as well.

Explain how the application process works

If you give a detailed explanation of exactly what happens when they apply they will not be left in the dark. Detail your process in a concise way just so they know what to expect.

Let applicants know why your company is great

happy young cleaning company workers holding cleaning equipment and showing ok sign

Employees expect to feel a greater sense of purpose within their workplace, and if your job description succeeds at conveying that, you should expect results.

Oscar Patron, founder of Beyond Expectations mentioned during a talk that he doesn’t call his employees “housekeepers”, instead, he chooses the term “VIP attendant”. These type of techniques will also help get across the message that they are important and valuable. Lastly, always remind them that you are hiring positivity, honesty, humility and a smile.

Time for pre-screening

Once you’ve identified your message and core values, and you get new applicants, you need to have a process in place to filter out applicants and to get to the best apples.

The first step to this process has to do with pre-screening.  For this part, you need to develop a set of questions that tell you what you need to know. Most employers would start with the simple ones that would knock out any unqualified applicant, for example, whether or not they have a driver’s license.

Joe Walsh, founder of Greenclean Maine, asks from 10 to 12 questions during the pre-screening process, whereas Oscar Patron keeps it simpler and asks around 6 questions. Apart from the default deal breaker questions, you should implement questions that revolve around your core company values. These should only have one answer, and you should know from the start which are the right ones and which are the wrong ones.

You should also focus on behavioral questions, since past behavior can predict future behavior. One great question Oscar Patron asks is “have you had a challenging customer?”. The answer to this will tell you a lot about the applicant, if they perk up and tell you how they turned a customer around, you know that’s the kind of person you want. But if they struggle to answer and tell you something along the lines of “we’ve all had annoying customers” that’s an instant no.

It’s also a great idea to cut the onboarding process in half by starting your interview with a brief discussion on what your company is all about. This will help you see if it aligns with what the applicant wants out of a job. After that, you may go on with the questions to figure out if the candidate is right for you!