The recruitment industry is a cut throat business with hundreds of job adverts written to attract top tier candidates. It will be these adverts that will be a candidate's first introduction to the particular company on offer so it is vital that recruiters know how to write job specs that are both engaging and well written. All too often not enough time or effort is dedicated to attracting the right candidates with a good quality job spec, which will inevitably diminish your chances of sourcing top talent.
Below we have listed some of the key elements that every job advert needs to have in order for it to successfully attract the right candidates.
Be sure to have describe the role in detail:
It is sometimes inevitable that a job spec may be sent through from an employer in a vague and generic manner, due to the daily duties of the job being too long for an employer to list each element individually,so only the key attributes are listed. As a recruiter you cannot allow a job spec written in such a way to be advertised either on job boards or on company websites, without first modifying the advert to appeal to your target audience. Candidates will demand to know what the job entails on a daily basis and it is up to you to make the role more attractable, especially if the role comes with a greater salary expectations. Using filler words if you get a job spec that is vague like 'this is a great opportunity to work with a leading company your duties will involve xxxx' will help to 'beef out' the description, to give them the confidence to know that they can match the requirements. Often recruiters can read between the lines when it comes to generic job specs, for example if a job spec lists experience in accountancy, then it is wise to assume that 'data entry' skills will be needed. You must describe the duties that will make up the bulk of a candidates time. Cleary defined roles are crucial in allowing a candidate to know what they have responsibilities for, by doing this those that are looking for greater positions of control and progressive career development are encouraged to apply.
Your job spec is a powerful marketing tool:
Candidates like to know and will be encouraged to apply if they understand and know what's in it for them eg: greater salary, the chance to relocate, positions of responsibility. You must make is clear in the spec what the candidate will gain in way of compensation. Where possible refer to the candidate in a personal and in a direct manner "You will be responsible for the delivery of xx" "You will have the chance to work for the best online website" "You will be eligible for a monthly bonus scheme", this is what candidates will what to see.
Many times job specs are written with little thought as to how the information will be perceived by the target audience. In this instance put yourself in the candidate's shoes, would you apply for a job that didn't state what you would be doing and what benefits you would receive? At the end of the day you must not give a candidate the chance to even think about not applying, to them this should come across as the best opportunity they have seen for them to use their skills in more progressive environment, they should want to be selected for the role.
Describe your ideal candidate:
Many recruiters are acutely aware from liaising with their clients the ideal traits of candidates that they need to attract. This comes from years of developing a close and professional working relationship that is beneficial to both parties concerned. Conversely the clients will want a candidate that is able to work effectively and to fit in with the cultural fit of their organisation. These traits are usually stated to recruiters as 'mandatory' requirements, candidates that fail to meet these requirements are unlikely to be selected for an interview. These have to be covered and listed down on any subsequent job spec. The issue from a recruiters view is how they can effectively tailor the job description in a way that will discourage certain candidates from applying. One way is to break down the list of skills and requirements your ideal candidate needs to have in a way which discourages confusion and doubt as to who it is the company needs to work for them. Having statements that declare "the idea candidate will need to be comfortable with working in multinational teams" or "because the work is demanding you will need to be able to work well under pressure with time constraints" should help to narrow down the talent pool.
In IT sector recruitment the need to make clear what skills and traits your idea candidate should possess is more apparent. It is not always practical to list every software tool competence down without confusing the target candidate. If these skills are mandatory or desirable skills then they should be split into two subsequent categories with headings "mandatory skills" or "desirable skills", with each skill listed underneath. It is important to know that your candidates will not have every technical skill needed and it would be unrealistic for recruiters to expect candidates to meet all of the requirements so a certain amount of discrepancy is needed, again you do not want to discourage each and every candidate from applying, only the ones that fail to meet the mandatory requirements.
A well written job spec is a recruiter's most important marketing tool. Its usefulness is not only to see if a candidate is suited to a role, but also to sell the company and role as well as acting as bait to see if a candidate is motivated and has the ability to do the job on offer. How recruiters draft up a job spec to put forward to candidates is purely a matter of choice and preference but the above main points need to be addressed.