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How to write a job description that attracts top IT talent

Sharon Florentine | June 18, 2014
Recruiting the best technology professionals starts with the job description. Here's how to make sure yours is hitting all the right areas.

Emphasize Culture and Branding

"It's important to write out why someone would want to come work for you," Borre says. "Make this part of the description specific and exciting. Were you named to a 'Best Places to Work' list? Are you known for your cutting-edge and innovative technology? Do you encourage employees to participate in charitable and community initiatives? All of these things can help attract talent," she says, especially in the IT space where unemployment remains low and candidates can be choosy about career moves.

And when it's time to describe the job itself, don't just lay out the roles and responsibilities, but include information about the specific goals set for employees in the role, and what outcomes will be expected, says Tony Marzulli, vice president of product management for talent solutions at HR, benefits and payroll solutions company ADP.

"Writing an effective job description is more about how to communicate not just what the roles and responsibilities of a job are, but what the outcomes are supposed to be — what does success in this role look like?" Marzulli says. "You want to educate candidates on what it means to work at the company, and that includes specific goals for the position, and discussion of how the role impacts the larger business," he says.

"Setting goals for employees and discussing the purpose of the role in the larger business context is something we do once candidates are hired for the job, but we should also make this a part of recruiting and sourcing as a whole," says Marzulli.

Doing so can help candidates better understand the company culture and what they'd be "getting themselves into" by working there, says Marzulli, but also helps companies propagate their brand identity in the larger marketplace and become an employer of choice that attracts and retains top talent.

"There should be a lot of emphasis on cultural fit, sure, but that works both ways," Marzulli says. "There's a different experience between being a consumer of a company's goods and services and being an employee, and it's crucial to communicate that. Companies should be emphasizing the internal experience, not just relying on the outside perception of what it's like to work there," he says.

Use All Available Technology Tools

It's also important to remember that a job description can use any available form of communication that will best resonate with its intended audience, Marzulli says. For a recent job opening within ADP, Marzulli developed and recorded a two-and-a-half minute video outlining the role available as well as the importance of the role to ADP's greater business context.

"Shooting that video expands the target audience, but it also helps give more personal insight to candidates about the job," he says. "We have all of these tools available — video, social media and the like — so why not use them?" he says.


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