This is the first article in our recruitment masterclass series. In the beginning, we’re looking at how to define the role you’re looking to fill and then how to find candidates for that role.
Writing a job description is essential so applicants know what they’re applying for. However, it’s also an incredibly useful exercise that helps you better understand what you’re looking for, and what you want to avoid in a candidate. It forces you to stop and think about what kind of skills and attributes are desirable, and what responsibilities you plan to attach to the role.
Feel free to make your internal job description as comprehensive as required, but you should probably aim to edit it down to 400 words or less for sending out to recruiters and potential candidates. You want to find the right balance between providing enough detail so candidates understand the role, and keeping the description concise and easy to read. Indeed.com found that job descriptions between 700 and 2,000 characters get up to 30% more applications.
If you’re struggling to get started, pretend you’re a candidate and search some job sites for similar roles. Don’t copy these, but use them as inspiration.
Start with the job title. Does it accurately reflect the nature of the job and its duties? If you’re advertising on job sites, then does it contain the keywords potential candidates might search for? If it’s a Sales Manager you’re looking for, then calling the role a Retail Satisfaction Manager might hinder your chances of being found in a web search.
Think of the job title as your headline and the summary as your bold lead paragraph. This is your opportunity to grab the candidate’s attention and sell them the role and your company. What is unique about your company, and why would a candidate would love to work for you. The word “summary” is key here – if this is all a potential candidate reads, does it summarise the role?
Responsibilities and Duties
Define the core responsibilities and duties of the role – make sure it’s detailed but concise. Think bullet points. Try to keep each to one or two sentences at most, and try not to list more than fifteen. You can always include the complete list in their employment contract.
Qualifications and Skills
As well as formal qualifications and hard skills, consider including soft skills, such as communication and problem solving. But don’t go overboard. While it could be tempting to identify every skill you envision your ideal candidate having, including too many could scare candidates away.
Some companies like to avoid mentioning salary at all in job descriptions, but this can be a turnoff for potential candidates. Instead, consider including a salary range that is competitive with similar positions elsewhere.
How/Where to Recruit
In the “olden days”, you’d probably pop a card up in the Job Centre. Oh, how things have changed.
Recruitment agencies tend to get a bad press these days, and there are certainly some sharks out there, but the benefits of using a reputable agency are plentiful. They’re the experts at finding candidates, have a vast network of talent to draw from and, if you pick the right one, have great knowledge and experience working in your industry.
If you do work with an agency who specialise in your industry, they should have a good idea of your expectations, and can bring good knowledge of salary and benefit expectations within the industry.
Stepping up the technology ladder, Hiring Hub is a relatively new approach to dealing with agencies. It’s essentially an online marketplace connecting you to a trusted network of specialist, independent recruitment agencies.
You post your job description and decide what you’re comfortable paying a recruitment agency – if they fill the vacancy. You then get to approve the agencies you want to work with. They can’t see your details, so you won’t get any nuisance calls. All communication is done over the Hiring Hub platform.
The Job Sites
The last ten years has seen an explosion of job sites on the internet. They each have their own quirks, but the approach is usually the same: you pay a fee up front to list your job advert on their site, and they use their technological wizardry to match you to suitable candidates.
There are two ways to recruit using LinkedIn: the free way and the paid way.
The free way requires you to have a real company presence on LinkedIn. You need a company page, which is your company’s home base on LinkedIn. From your company page you can officially connect to your existing employees’ LinkedIn accounts, post updates and attract followers. It’s also where you job postings will appear.
Encourage your employees to have their own LinkedIn accounts and make sure they’re officially listed as employees at your company.
The paid way consists of paying LinkedIn to create an online job posting. Potential candidates can search for job postings on LinkedIn, but the jobs will also be recommended to potential candidates as they use the site. You control the cost of the advert by deciding how much you “pay per click” (a candidate “clicks” to look at your posting) and setting a daily budget (the maximum you want to pay each day). So, if you run your advert for 30 days and set a £10 daily budget, the advert won’t cost you more than £300 for the month.
Whether you go the free way, the paid way, or ideally both, make sure you have your employees share the post/job ad on their LinkedIn profile. You might have 500 followers on your company page, but if you have 30 employees with between 200 and 2,000 connections each, you can dramatically increase your reach by having your employees’ share the post.
Facebook hold an incredible amount of information about its users, and they allow you to target your adverts based upon this information. Want to target Sales Managers in the South East of England? You can target your ads based on location, age, education, interests, job title, and lots more. Just like LinkedIn, it works on a pay-per-click (PPC) model, so you control your own budget.
Now read our follow-up post on reviewing CVs and shortlisting your candidates for interview.