The trouble with job descriptions is...
Let’s admit it, most job descriptions are pretty useless. They generally lack originality, all following the same format - something (exciting) has happened in our business and we have a new opportunity to join us, we’re looking for someone who has x,y,z skills and experience doing a,b,c, ideally they will also have 1,2,3. Even worse, very few excite you to the point where your eyes race across the screen to find the ‘apply now’ button. Worse still, I’d be surprised if any left the reader with a warm fuzzy feeling that they’d finally found that dream job they’ve been looking for.
Now some might say that it’s easy for a self-made entrepreneur to attack job descriptions, and they’d be right. When I founded The Branding Man this summer it was, in part, a conscious decision to create the job I had always wanted rather than always trying to see myself in something which had been written by someone else about a job they will probably never do themselves. But that’s the sorry state of affairs that I think we’ve found ourselves in. Endless paragraphs of words that fail to engage the reader and in turn, light that spark of curiosity that takes the job applicant on that next stage of their journey from awareness towards consideration (‘tell me more’).
And as recruiters, we want them to find out more, but our efforts towards this often fall flat. We give way to ease, to formulaic templates that are consistent for all the wrong reasons, populated with language littered by jargons, buzzwords and acronyms that confuse the reader more than they help them. Even those that have seen the opportunity to move towards a model which helps students to answer the ‘what’s it like work there?’ question, still fall back on the security of a job description disguised as employer profiles where over the years during my corporate career I agonised over which words could be cut from the copy to fit the word limit set. On reflection I probably added even more confusion to the situation as I tried to explain the work of a global organisation in a way that a 14-18 year old might understand in ‘up to 100 words’. Some say ‘less is more’ but when it come to job descriptions we shouldn’t be trying to economise, or hide and be lazy (two words here ‘competitive salary’…) We need to do more to inspire to help us find the right people for the jobs we’re advertising rather than the people who can ‘crack the code’, and that’s why I’m such a big fan of video job descriptions.
Why chose video next time you are ‘writing’ a job description
Did yow know that job video descriptions are ‘viewed’ 46% more than their written counterpart? This isn’t really a surprise given the huge rise in popularity of video content in recent years and Gen Z’s appetite for seeking knowledge in the depths of You Tube. This is the generation that wants to learn, and video provides a really tangible way for employers to bring the world of work to life, especially if the responsibility for creating them is stripped away from your marketing team and placed in the hands of your people. Some of the best video content I’ve worked on had very little to do with me, or my team. We just provided prompts, advice on how to achieve the best lighting and sound, and left our people to explain their job, in their own words. Capturing daily life in a way that no job description ever could, because its richer content, that’s more relatable to the viewer and speaks directly to the drive for more ‘peer-to-peer’ communications that the student audience is looking for.
Yes, there is a lot of work to be done engaging your stakeholders and asking them to answer questions that they’d usually avoid by drafting a job description but that’s the power of video too - it gets to the heart of ‘why’ in so many authentic ways, bringing your jobs to life.
And if you can’t answer the ‘why’ then I’d question what motivated you to apply for the job in the first place.