10 Ways to Optimize Your Job Descriptions and Draw Top Talent
An optimized job description has a greater chance of attracting more candidates, and raising the bar on the quality of inquiries you receive. Refer to this checklist to make sure your job postings are optimized so that they perform well and help you to recruit smarter and faster!
1. Be Clear: Most importantly, a good job description should not be confusing to the candidate. Wording should be clear, concise, free of any errors, and reflect the tone and enthusiasm your brand has for the particular role or department. Also, use relevant keywords that are commonly used for your role and for the hospitality industry in general.
While you want to avoid keyword “stuffing” throughout the copy, you will want to use standard industry terms that will boost your posting's SEO and make it easier for job seekers to find online.
2. Don’t Forget the Essentials: Candidates expect the basics on any job description, and leaving any of these things off can discourage them from applying or, worse, sour them on your company in general. Be sure to include a brief description of the role, a list of duties and responsibilities they will have to perform, and any experience or education requirements.
While adding these important elements won’t, in and of themselves, optimize your job description, leaving any category off of the description is a serious mistake that will surely affect the quantity and quality of applications you get.
3. Sell Your brand: The tight current labor market is favorable to job candidates, as they enjoy more choices in their hunt for a new employer. Because of this, it's more important than ever for employers to stay competitive by communicating the unique value that their brand and company offers to potential new hires. Optimized job descriptions don't just provide details of a specific job title, but they also sell the candidate on the company and brand.
4. Highlight the Benefits: An important part of selling your brand (and the job) to qualified candidates requires clearly communicating what’s in it for them (aside from salary). Candidates truly care about additional benefits and workplace perks – things like healthcare options, childcare, flex time or remote work, PTO, employee discounts, travel vouchers, gym memberships, on-site amenities, company events, bonuses, parental leave, stock options…
To make your company more attractive in a highly competitive job market, list any and all benefits you can offer.
5. Include Salary: One of the biggest frustrations for job seekers is the lack of transparency on job postings when it comes to salary. They are often less likely to apply for a job (especially if the application process is lengthy) if they don’t have an idea of salary beforehand to know if it’s even worth their time to apply.
Google also reports that it gives preferential treatment to job postings that include salary information, so this is a great way to optimize your ad. If you aren’t able to list an exact salary, then at least provide a range or a minimum starting salary. This will help to provide you with applicants who are truly interested in the role and make your job description more attractive for candidates compared to competitors who don’t list any salary information.
6. Lay Out Goals: Serious job seekers like to know the short and long game when they join a team. Can you communicate some long-term goals like where the brand, company, or department is headed or what the major goals are for the next few years? Are these goals something that candidates can get excited about and feel eager to be a part of?
Use the job description to show that your brand is dynamic, forward-thinking, focused on growth, and at the forefront of the hospitality industry. This kind of energetic optimizaiton approach will attract candidates that also want to be motivated and inspired by your brand.
7. Optimize the Job Title: While it might be tempting to attract a younger applicant pool by using creative, outside-of-the-box job descriptions like “marketing guru” or “brand evangelist” or “sales ninja,” these types of titles have quickly fallen out of fashion and will probably get more eye-rolls from applicants than resume submissions. Plus, non-standard job titles will make it more difficult for applicants to search and find your posting online, so you’ll want to mirror the terms they’ll likely be searching for.
Save the creative discursives for your brand copywriting, not your job description titles. You’ll also want to avoid using acronyms in the job title, as well as adding any other descriptor text. The text should contain only the relevant job title.
8. Punch it Up: Don’t sacrifice content or substance here (remember, you need to include the basics in every job description), but try to make the copy as interesting and engaging for applicants as you can. Keep in mind all of the other roles and companies you are competing with, and do what you can do “punch up” the copy.
9. Be Strategic with Keywords: Again, you want to avoid overloading the description with keywords, but you should repeat the job title and a few of your most important keywords at least 4 or 5 times in the description. Avoid putting any of these keywords in the job title, though, as Google will likely penalize your posting and potentially remove it from their system.
10. Pay Attention to Length: The sweet spot for job posting length varies by role, but in general a good post has 700-1500 words. The important thing to remember here, though, isn’t to write to reach some “magic” number of length that will rank well for SEO. Prioritize the quality of the information you’re communicating about the job first, then revise where you can to stay within these limits.
To further optimize your posting content, avoid long blocks of uninterrupted text. Opt instead to break up your sections into paragraphs, and where you can use reader-friendly bullet points and lists.