Keys to writing better job descriptions

There's no question that the American labor force is in particularly robust shape as we enter the final two months of 2018: Unemployment is down yet again through October – holding at 3.7 percent according to the latest Employment Situation summary released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fields ranging from manufacturing and health care to professional business and IT services are creating new positions at a rapid clip, and even unaccountable factors like Hurricane Michael, which hit parts of Florida Oct. 10, haven't impeded job prospects very much. Company leaders and recruiters might think all of this means they don't have to put in quite as much effort into promoting jobs as they would when employment is scarce – but it isn't that simple.

With more jobs to go around, businesses and staffing partners need to to make open positions sound as appealing as possible – and that's where the importance of writing great job descriptions takes center stage. Let's take a deep, comprehensive dive into the core tenets of crafting job postings that have high probabilities of attracting the best candidates:

Make it seem exciting – but be honest 

People who are actively looking for work in a healthy economy know they don't have to take whatever position is immediately available.They've got options and aren't afraid to peruse them. This means candidates are more likely to investigate a listing that pops out at them with an appealing description.

In light of this, CIO magazine recommended that the job description include a concise explanation of what the job entails, its importance to the company as a whole and a sense of how it serves society on a broader scale. It should illustrate that the job has significance outside the walls of the workplace. A clear title is also important, according to the business news provider: Don't post "SEO Guru" when "Senior SEO Specialist" better conveys the nature of the role (and sounds more professional, too). Last but not least, be sure to avoid hyperbole: Like clever or insouciant job titles, inflated language might seem inventive at first, but it could make it seem like your organization doesn't take things seriously, thus potentially turning away talented candidates.

Consider supplemental features 

We understand that for any number of reasons, it might not be feasible for certain businesses to include premium features, such as video content, in every single one of their job postings. But if it's within an organization's resources to do so, CareerBuilder pointed out that such enhancements can capture a prospective new employee's attention – which makes sense, given how many people are visual learners. If video isn't an easy or fiscally feasible medium for you to use, try to include a relevant infographic or other imagery about the organization.

Include all essential information 

According to a recent Glassdoor and Harris Poll survey, the one thing that infuriated job seekers more than any other was job postings without clear explanations of compensation: salary, health insurance and any other benefits or perks. Some may bridle at this idea, on the theory that including compensation information might attract individuals who aren't truly interested in the organization. Frankly, that's a risk that must be taken, because the highly motivated and skilled candidates will still want to know how much they'll earn and how comprehensive the job's benefits package is. If leery of offering specific numbers, include a range, or an approximate number, and add a caveat like "commensurate with experience."

Even more importantly, remember to include essential information about the position's location and accessibility (whether it requires an employee to find their own transport or can be reached on public transportation lines). Finally, don't forget any information that's required for regulatory compliance purposes, such as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission-mandated anti-discrimination language. Failure to do so can lead to civil fines or court proceedings, and The Balance noted that using this information may be protective in the event of an employee lawsuit.

Get employees involved 

Recruiters searching for a fresh way to make an open job sound appealing don't have to look any further than their own co-workers, according to CIO. Seeking the advice of current employees can lead recruiters to perspectives that might not have otherwise occurred to them, and be the factor that makes or breaks a successful hiring effort.