By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

The job posting has long been a staple in recruiting. It’s what candidates read to find out whether or not they’re qualified or would be a good fit. It has helped us ensure we communicate what the hiring manager is looking for and also served as one of the very few resources a candidates had for understanding the position and the organization. So what has decades of using the same type of job posting shown us? With time to fill higher than ever and the market more competitive than we’ve seen it in years, it’s just not working. It’s not an effective means of engaging or building a relationship with a candidate. The job description as we know it is no more. It is time for something NEW. 
It’s time that we, as recruiters, reinvent the job posting and description to align with the consumer. The places and the ways in which candidates are searching for jobs is different than it has ever been, so it’s time to move away from a six-paragraph list of jargon and requirements and towards engaging resources and marketing-focused efforts that candidates will actually care about.
Rethinking job descriptions

The technical definition of a job description is “an orderly record of the essential activities involved in the performance of a task that is abstracted from a job analysis and used in classifying and evaluating jobs and in the selection and placement of employees.” This isn’t changing. What does need to change is the way in which we evaluate what is required to perform a job, how we present that to candidates and even how we expect them to respond to such a description. Taking that into account, we need to see them as a tool for communicating our needs in a way that is entertaining, engaging and helpful for candidates in determining whether or not they would be a good fit.
A job description today should do four things:
Meet candidates where they are

A modern job description caters to how and where candidates are searching for jobs. The days of candidates reading long job postings online when they get home from work are over. Today, the majority of candidates are searching on their phone whenever they have free time. This means that descriptions can’t be long-winded if we want candidates to make it through the entire thing and take action. Where are the kinds of people you’re looking for searching? That’s where you should be.
Empower job seekers

We know that candidate fit is one of the most important considerations when making a hiring decision, so your job description should empower a seeker to decide whether or not they are qualified and how they would fit with the company culture.
Let your employment brand shine

Job postings are so much more than a rundown of responsibilities. They’re actually one of your biggest marketing tools as an employer. Let your employment brand shine through and you’ll make a lasting impression on both applicants and those who decide the position isn’t quite right.
Encourage action

Your job postings, whether on your own career site, talent network, job aggregator or job board, should capture candidates’ attention and accurately articulate the job responsibilities, but they should also leave the candidate excited and wanting to know more. No matter how creative, interesting or branded a job posting is, if it doens’t encourage a call to action, it’s not effective.
By ensuring your job descriptions and postings cover these four essential factors, you’ll see a higher-quality candidate pool, increased brand reputation and recognition and ultimately, time saved in the hiring process.

Be sure to check out part 2 of our Job Posting series by clicking here

TalentCircles is the most comprehensive candidate engagement platform on the market. Take a product tour or request a live demo today. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology anthropologist specializing in HR and recruiting. She’s the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs and author of The HR Technology Field Guide. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

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