HR leaders can improve their hiring process by recognizing its weaknesses and creating effective job descriptions.

This sets the groundwork for successful future hires, benefiting hiring managers and the organization in the long run.

At Randstad Canada, we aim to support HR leaders and hiring managers in building successful future workforces and companies.

We've compiled five tips to enhance engagement and the quality of applications for open roles in hiring managers' inboxes.


1. articulate what it is you want from a new hire

Do more with your job description than craft it to describe your needs accurately. Reflect on past employees that didn’t work out, issues related to knowledge gaps, or why they weren’t a cultural fit.

Then, articulate what hard skills, soft skills, or personal qualities will ensure a candidate's success. 

The written job description should focus on the future goals for the role, not just the immediate duties.

Deloitte suggests using competency-based role profiles instead of detailed job descriptions.

The focus should be on core, functional, and leadership qualities rather than a lengthy list that is hard to sustain over time.

This approach helps candidates better adapt to a changing work environment.

For example, you might want to avoid inserting the name of your analytics software as a prerequisite. 

Instead, include a statement like “ Interprets data and applies insights from enterprise analytics successfully.”

After all, you can train talent on software skills. This way, you ensure you capture this skillset in your pool of candidates, even if the analytics software you use changes in time.

Have a colleague or friend review your posting if you’re unsure whether you’ve achieved these things with your job description. 

Ask them if they provide feedback based on their understanding of the role.

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2. optimize writing job descriptions for digital environments

Online job seekers can flip between dozens of job posts in mere seconds, seeing both bad and good job descriptions.

In other words, they have options and multiple job boards to choose from. They rarely spend time reading an entire job description if parts of the text abruptly turn them off.

Online seekers also use various devices. Failing to optimize job descriptions for these devices excludes many potential candidates.

Here are some tips to ensure your job descriptions are easy to read and desirable to attract the right candidates who are browsing online:

  • use Google Trends to create job titles, terms, and phrases your ideal candidates are most likely to search for
  • use bullet points and keywords that capture readers’ attention as they scan multiple posts
  • use large, purposeful subheadings often to aid readers as they skim your post
  • use bold words — sparingly but meaningfully — to draw attention to certain text
  • be concise and precise, transmitting only necessary information and required skills
  • put the most attractive information near the top of the job description
  • don’t use jargon, acronyms, “all caps,” or callouts like “WANTED” or “HURRY!”

Before you launch, check the efficacy of your job description by checking the posting using multiple devices.

We can help you write your job advertisements so that they are as effective and relevant as possible.

3. make the job posting attractive — not overbearing

Grab the attention of qualified candidates with the first three lines of your introduction. Connect with them personally by being different from your competitors, displaying empathy, and briefly getting your brand culture across.

Then, rather than highlight the rigorous aspects of the job, highlight the opportunities and benefits they could enjoy.

The “responsibilities” section of your job description should tell job seekers what they need to do for your company and what they get to do.

That means focusing on the positives and helping candidates visualize themselves in that role. The difference is subtle but significant.

Do more to highlight the amenities and benefits the job provides as well, without including real salary details. Simply writing a “competitive benefits package” isn’t enough.

Recent research by Ipsos shows that salary range is particularly important to professionals, men (58%) and women (55%). Why not be upfront with your salary range, benefits and perks and add it to your job description?

According to our most recent Employer Brand Research survey, the perks that matter most for employees are:

But be aware — Randstad Canada also found that a measurable gap exists between what employees say they want and what their employers think they want.

Conduct an internal survey of existing employees to see what they feel are the best aspects of their jobs and the company and include those results in the job description for any open positions.

4. help candidates find the right job for them, not the other way around

Helping candidates find the right job sometimes means ensuring poor candidates turn away from your own.

Your goal is to find the right balance between turning away unsuitable people from applying in a healthy way. A good job description should entice the right candidates to continue through the application process.

Always draft a truthful conclusion with a call to action, but set realistic expectations about the next steps.

Including instructions for multiple, tedious application steps can turn away good candidates and poor ones.

Redesign the call to action with your ideal candidates’ strengths in mind. This will provide a better experience for them while decreasing the chance you will engage the wrong people.

5. advertise your company culture and your brand

Candidates aren’t just interested in filling a role. They’re interested in partnering with a company that will bring them long-term satisfaction and growth.

Increasingly, job seekers align their personal growth with a healthy corporate culture, industry best practices, and social responsibility. 

In this way, starting a new job is like starting a new life, no matter how many years of experience they have.

By describing life inside the company, you’ll help candidates picture themselves as part of your team. These types of details reinforce your company’s brand and can help set you apart from competitors.

The job description is prime real estate — don’t waste it with a generic company boilerplate description.

Showcase your company to stand out from your competitors in the eyes of potential hires. You may tip the scales for high-value candidates exploring multiple options.

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