It’s Time To Humanize Our Job Descriptions

Let’s reconsider that title for a minute… because it’s also time to stop calling them Job Descriptions. Job Posting or perhaps Job Advertisement feels more applicable these days. There’s little disagreement among Talent Acquisition professionals that traditional job descriptions need to change. Yet, at this year’s CXR Employment Branding Meeting a third of the room – all Recruitment Marketing Professionals – said they still don’t have an easily defined process when it comes to job postings (let’s stick with that term). Too many of them said that the job posting starts in compensation and makes its way across the desk of the hiring manager before wandering over to the recruiter’s inbox. Each of these people add a little something here and a little something there. None really with the end goal in mind: attracting and engaging the reader/potential future employee. It’s a Frankenstein process at best and it’s not doing the company or job seeker any favors. 

Common issues with job postings

There are plenty of root causes behind poor job postings. The good news? They all can be addressed and Employment Branding teams are in the perfect place to lead the charge. Employment Branding professionals need to understand the issues and then develop internal training to help the rest of the TA team and Hiring Managers understand them and what can be done about them.

  • Job postings are often too long, too cumbersome and don’t represent the company or position in an engaging fashion. Writing is a talent/skill that needs to be developed – not everyone can (or should) be writing a job posting.
  • No one person truly owns the job posting.
  • There’s a technical challenge around where job postings are stored so they are consistent and easily leveraged when needed.
  • Poor formatting and branding.

[Building your Employment Brand Foundation]

Let Employment Branding take the lead on job postings

Marketing professionals understand the challenge of attracting, engaging and retaining a target market. Sounds a lot like what’s needed from a good job posting doesn’t it? When presented with the challenges outlined above, here are some recommendations from CXR members on how your Employment Branding professionals can (and should) influence the process:

  • Train your hiring managers (and recruiters) to better understand what a good job posting should and should not include. Part of that training should include using a common repository of job postings. That common database keeps a consistent message while also saving time – at least it does when it is used properly.
  • Determine who owns job postings. Take time to process map the job, interviewing key stakeholders, and then develop the job description instead of that Frankenstein approach mentioned earlier.
  • Address the person you’re trying to reach. Even better? Create personas for those ideal job candidates and let them drive the content in the job posting, not hiring managers. 
  • Consider the full experience of the job seeker. How does the job posting work on mobile? Does it include rich media elements that are common in today’s virtual world?
  • Let candidates do some self-selecting. Use the job description to help candidates assess fit. This could be a great time to implement some AI that does basic candidate screening and tells candidates where they should start exploring. 

Job postings provide great opportunities to personalize your company and your job openings to potential candidates. While some people might argue that we get rid of job postings entirely, many of us agree they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. The challenge thus becomes: how can you humanize your job postings to attract, engage and retain the best people for your company? Are you doing something new with your job postings? Let us know in the CXR Employment Branding eXchange!


Picture of Chris Hoyt

Chris Hoyt

A veteran of recruiting and HR, Hoyt is a sought-after speaker with presentations including national conferences with SHRM, LinkedIn, HR Technology, ERE and others in the USA as well as UNLEASH, iRecruit, Australasian Talent Conference and more abroad. Chris has been promoting and leading full scale and enterprise-wide integrations of social media and mobile marketing within workforce strategies for his entire career. His expertise and passion for interactive/social recruiting, candidate experience, and both national and international recruiting strategies are all areas that Hoyt now leverages as co-owner and President at CareerXroads, a Recruiting/Staffing consulting and think tank organization that works with corporate leaders from around the world to break out of traditional recruitment practices and push the envelope in an effort to win the ongoing war for top talent.

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