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How to Write a Job Description That Attracts the Right Candidates

One of the biggest fears a recruiter can have is posting a job opening online and receiving hundreds of resumes from underqualified candidates. Imagine having to sift through all of those resumes only to find out that maybe a handful are worth calling in for an interview.

In this situation, the problem is often that the job description didn't do its job correctly. An effective job description should do two things: attract the right candidates while simultaneously repelling the unqualified ones. To this end, the language and setup of the description should be so specific and direct that anyone reading will immediately know if the job is for them or not.

Having to choose from a short list of candidates so amazing its hard to pick just one is a much better problem to have than having a long list of job seekers that aren't quite right for the position. That said, here are some tips to help you write a job description that will entice the perfect candidates to apply for your opening.

Make the job description current, but show flexibility

"Top performers will be attracted to your opening when they can see exactly how they can expect to grow in your company over the next few months or years."

Some recruiters will keep reusing the same job description every time a certain position opens, but this can be a key reason why they keep getting unsatisfactory candidates. Business Know How wrote that recruiters should write their job descriptions based on what the business currently needs from the position.

A company is constantly evolving and adapting based on internal and external forces, and that means the way employees approach their jobs will change too. Your job description, then, should not only lay out what is expected of the role right now, but also how it will change over the long term.

Top performers will be attracted to your opening when they can see exactly how they can expect to grow in your company over the next few months or years.

Be specific about everything

Another reason why so many job descriptions attract the wrong candidates is because they are vague, leaving too much room for interpretation. People who aren't qualified for your position should not be able to say, "I might be a good fit for this." Make everything as specific as possible so that it will leave no doubts about what the role truly entails.

The Small Business Association wrote that one easy way to be specific is to omit ambiguous words like "frequently," "occasional," "several," and so on. These are the kinds of words that leave things open to many different interpretations.

Another way to make your job description have a laser focus on the true nature of the position is to show exactly how the job will get done. Instead of writing "manages customer relationships," you should write something like "Uses Salesforce to quickly and efficiently manage customer relationships."

An effective job description will attract the right candidates while repelling the wrong ones.

Show the personal qualities needed for the position

Once you've written the specific tasks and responsibilities the role requires, you'll want to include a list of personal qualities that your ideal candidate will possess. As Business Know How explained, clarifying both of these things will allow you to show how the tangible skills and the intangible qualities will come together to create the perfect candidate.

Borrowing from the last example, if an employee will be using Salesforce to manage customer relationships, you may also want to add that you expect a high level of responsiveness and professionalism when handling client communications. This will attract only those with the right skills and the confidence to apply them to your business' needs.