Are Your Job Descriptions Chasing Away Talent?

Tips on writing job postings that attract good people

Have you been overwhelmed by the multitude of resumes that find their way into
your inbox--and underwhelmed by the quality of applicants you're getting? Your
job descriptions might be unintentionally repelling your best potential employees!

You may think that making the job description as long and detailed as humanly possible will weed out unqualified candidates, but in fact it's often the opposite. Hoping to find the perfect candidate who can leap tall buildings while juggling upside down, many companies have job openings that remain unfilled for long periods of time--while great candidates whose talents could be helping your company grow get snatched up by your competitors instead!

Of course, no matter how you describe a job, there will always be applicants who don't read the description very carefully, or who just spew resumes out into the jobosphere whether or not the position's a fit, and hope they hit the jackpot. But there are ways to write job descriptions that will more likely attract the candidates you're looking for.

Here are some tips:

  • Identify key skills the applicant needs to be a successful member of your team. It's not necessary to throw the kitchen sink in there--what are the specifics of what the job requires?
  • Make sure your job description reflects your organization's culture. If your company's work environment is casual and friendly, the job description shouldn't sound like a proposed law for Congress. You're more likely to attract candidates who fit your work culture if you represent it up front.
  • Avoid excessive corporatespeak. “Excellent communication skills with an ability to multitask and work independently as well as being a team player.” You’re looking for a human candidate, so make the job description sound human. Besides, there aren’t too many jobs that don’t require the above abilities.
  • Don't include an absurdly long list of requirements that reads like Paris Hilton's Christmas list. An additional list of desired skills is fine, but again, focus on key attributes that are realistic.
  • Include main attraction selling points about your company. Talented people are more likely to apply for a position at a company that appeals to them.