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Is your careers site driving away candidates?

Sharon Florentine | July 31, 2015
A pleasant job applicant experience is your best chance of making a great first impression on candidates. Is yours up to par?

In today's fast-paced world, nobody is going to read an overly descriptive job post. Candidates want to know the basics of the role -- the job title, the department, how many years of experience are needed, the salary range and whether they'd be a good fit culturally. Goldin recommends leaving long, detailed descriptions of daily responsibilities and tasks for the interview.

That emphasis on culture, brand and on opportunities for growth is why Sarah Nahm, CEO of Lever, an application-based sourcing, recruiting, hiring and ATS provider, says her company has completely removed "requirements" from any of the firm's job descriptions. Instead, Lever focuses on how candidates will grow within the role, and what the firm's mission and values are.

"You should emphasize the opportunity for the job seeker, and how they can grow, rather than just 'have a job.' This is much more effective than having a checklist against which people have to match themselves and you end up with candidates whose strengths and accomplishments are a better fit for your firm," Nahm says.

When you're writing these types of descriptions for your site, focus on what a candidate will accomplish within the first three, six, nine and 12 months on the job -- what success will look like and how they can contribute to that. This is especially important when trying to attract passive candidates, Nahm says.

"We've heard a lot that people saw our jobs page and they weren't even looking for another job, they weren't even seriously considering applying, but because of the way we presented the opportunity, it made them want to apply," says Nahm.

Nahm adds that collaboration between the hiring manager, supervisors and the recruiting partner can help develop a powerful, attractive job description that defines the most important priorities of the company and the role. "A lot of job descriptions are just cut-and-paste from someone who's previously done the job, or from your competitors. That doesn't help, since each candidate and each role is unique. So make sure you're looking at exactly what the priorities are, what's interesting and promising about your company, the role and the business," advises Nahm.

Don't confuse perks with culture

One thing that trips up many companies is failing to distinguish between perks offered and a company's culture. Job seekers understand that, just because an organization has a ping-pong table might not mean they're a great place to work.

"The true driver of culture is your mission, values and corporate impact on the world. By all means, emphasize your perks -- if you have free food, foosball tables, flexible work arrangements, casual dress -- but make sure that's not the only thing you say about your culture and your purpose. If you value a flat organization, if you believe in letting employees set their own hours or book their own travel and expenses, that says a lot about trust and independence," Nahm says.


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