Are your job descriptions consistent? If not, you risk confusing candidates and causing more work for your hiring managers and recruiters.
Consistent job descriptions can also cut time-to-fill — specifically, the time it takes to get from req to candidate screenings (which can easily take 3+ weeks). For tips on writing job descriptions, check out How to Write a Job Description — Best Practices & Examples.
Here are a few ways to have more consistent job descriptions:
1) Same Order of Sections
Your sections should always appear in the same order.
Candidates often look at more than one of your job opps and consistent order helps readability.
You can’t have About Us at the beginning of one JD and then have it be the last section of another.
And you can’t have a diversity section on one job and then not on another. The candidate will question your commitment to diversity. Ouch!
My recommendation: Use one order of sections for all your JDs.
2) Your Boilerplate Sections Should be Fixed
The boilerplate sections of your job descriptions (E.g. About Us, Benefits and EEO/Diversity) should have the same copy.
It hurts your brand to have your company described in one way on one JD yet another way on a second JD.
My recommendation: Use a writer who knows how to write ad copy (e.g. a coypwriter). Have them write the boilerplate sections and get them approved by Legal/Corporate. And then keep those sections fixed!
I hope you have good copywriters internally but if you don’t, check out Ongig’s Job Description Rewriting solution.
Another tip: on both #1 and #2 it helps to use Job Description Management Software (yes, that was just a shameless plug for Ongig!).
3) Have a Single Point of View (1st/2nd or 3rd Person)
There are 2 main choices for what point of view to use in a job description:
- First/Second Person — An example of 1st/2nd person if to say:
We have an exciting chance for you to join us as a java engineer to create our new virtual reality game.
I bolded the first/second person words.
2) 3rd Person — An example of 3rd person is:
Acme Co. is hiring a java engineer for to create a new virtual reality game.
I bolded the 3rd person words.
Your job descriptions need to be First/Second Person OR 3rd Person…but don’t do a mix. It’s inconsistent and sloppy.
My recommendation: Use First Person/Second Person because it’s more conversational. If you use 3rd person than you treat the candidate like an “other” person. No bueno.
4) Length (Word Count)
How long should your job description be?
Ongig’s software analyzes this sort of thing and we see many jobs with 200 or fewer words as JDs with 1,000+ words (at the same employer!).
There are a few opinions out there on JD word length:
- Allie Hall of Textio says 300 to 700 words
- TheMuse recommends 250 to 1,000 words
- Jennifer Gladstone of UnderCover Recruiter said 500 to 600 words
My recommendation: Use 300 to 650 words. Any less than 300 and you risk the candidate feeling that the job isn’t that important to you (and thus not important to them).
Many candidates lose interest after 650 words so writing longer than that is not worth it.
Many employers customize the branding of the job description pages (e.g.. you have your logo, header/footer, color scheme, etc.).
But not if send your job board traffic to a different job description page generated by your ATS where you have little to no branding.
Candidates would have 2 different branding experiences with your JDs.
My recommendation: Have only one set of job descriptions that all candidates see. This might mean that you need to tell job boards to scrape job descriptions from somewhere other than your ATS. Ping me if you want me to explain this more.
For more consistent job descriptions, you might also want to check out The 6 Key Steps for Job Description Management Software) article. It covers things like having a Job Description Library, Consistent Templates, A Searchable/Centralized Database of JDs and more!).
I’m super-excited about job description consistency lately because it’s a key problem Ongig solves with our new Job Description Management Software. Ongig’s JD Management App lets you easily find and create job descriptions and speed up your workflow.
And your job descriptions will be consistent every time!