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How to Manage Teams in Different Locations

I love the way grandmothers pack priceless wisdom into colorful phrases. Phrases like “when the cat is away, the mice will play” speak volumes about the human tendency to slack off when the boss isn’t around. Or how about this one: “out of sight, out of mind.” When something isn’t in front of me, it gets pushed to the back of my mind.

Maybe you think of these phrases when wondering how to manage teams in different locations. Conventional wisdom says managing dispersed teams is a headache. You can’t possibly make sure your staff isn’t goofing off. You wonder how to handle managerial tasks for a team possibly hundreds of miles away.

Nothing against Grandma, but her notions of remote management are a bit old-fashioned. With the right strategies and software in place, you’ll take to managing dispersed teams like a fish takes to water.

Considerations for Hiring Dispersed Teams

Grandma would say you can’t separate the wheat from the chaff when hiring a dispersed team. When you post job openings for multiple locations, you run the risk of missing high-quality applicants if your process is unorganized. Hiring employees at multiple locations requires strategic planning and implementation.

Perhaps one of the biggest considerations for hiring dispersed teams is maintaining your company’s branding. Multiple locations will probably develop their own unique culture. Your branding becomes the glue that binds employees in different locations to your company’s vision. Without strong branding, different locations may begin to feel like independent outposts for employees as well as customers.

You can introduce applicants to your company’s values, vision, and character with a branded careers site. A single careers website can manage applications for job postings at all of your company’s locations, even allowing job seekers to apply to multiple jobs with one application. Not only will you elevate your brand in your applicants’ eyes, you’ll be able to uncover more qualified candidates and manage applicant data from a cloud-based software system accessible at all of your locations.

From within the applicant tracking system, you’ll be able to sort applicants using a variety of data fields, including location. You can then assign tasks to individuals on hiring teams throughout the organization. You’ll be able to view applicants’ progress throughout the hiring process.

Perhaps most importantly, an ATS will give your hiring teams the tools they need to work independently without sacrificing your ability to oversee the process. An ATS can eliminate many of the intra-company emails and phone calls that hinder hiring across locations. With all the benefits of an ATS, I think Grandma might finally agree you can have your cake and eat it too.

 

Multi-Site Management of Employee Onboarding

Grandma might warn you against biting off more than you can chew when it comes to multi-site management of employee onboarding. It’s true that onboarding new hires at multiple sites can be problematic. Ineffective onboarding will cut into your bottom line, decrease your company’s productivity, and possibly leave you vulnerable to lawsuits.

Employees who undergo a comprehensive onboarding program are productive in their new roles more quickly. Effective onboarding can also improve employee retention. Onboarding software can help you create a consistent and effective onboarding process for all of your locations. You can use these digital onboarding tools when introducing your new hires to your company. Training modules within onboarding software can be customized for each position and its location.

New employee forms get trickier during cross-office collaboration. The best onboarding software will determine the correct new employee forms for each position and location. You won’t need to worry about your hiring teams forgetting about non-compete agreements for new sales people. And you can be sure the correct city payroll tax withholdings are on file. Best of all, onboarding software stores your completed new employee forms digitally. If your new sales person leaves for a competitor a few years down the road, you won’t need to chase down a paper copy of that non-compete agreement.

Even Grandma has to admit, onboarding software leaves no stone unturned.

 

Managing Employees at Multiple Locations

Grandma wouldn’t want you burning the candle at both ends when managing employees at multiple locations. Each location may develop a culture inconsistent with your company’s values. Productivity may suffer when employees aren’t engaged in the company’s larger mission. Poor communication can enhance existing problems.

You can address the challenges of managing employees in different locations by proactively managing your workplace culture. Create a comprehensive onboarding process with an emphasis on your company’s values and mission. Existing employees may benefit from training that focuses on your company’s culture. Try implementing a rewards program for employees who demonstrate behavior consistent with your values.

Nurturing a positive culture and workplace environment will help engage employees. You can also increase employee engagement by offering skill development training. Dispersed employees could access advanced training modules within your onboarding software or classes online. Think about pairing employees at remote locations with mentors working from the company headquarters. These mentors can help employees navigate the company’s dynamics.

Stakeholders need strong communication skills to make these strategies for managing teams at multiple locations successful. Managers with poor communication skills struggle with how to increase collaboration between teams and improve cross-departmental communication. Remind these managers to have regular video conferences with remote team members. Email is great for task-related communication. But only a phone or video call can nurture meaningful connections between co-workers.

You can overcome the challenges of managing and leading remote teams through culture, engagement, and communication. When you use these strategies, your employees will feel more emotionally invested in their roles and happy as clams.

Final Thoughts

Conventional wisdom may say that managing teams in different locations is difficult. Dispersed worksites tend to develop their own culture. Distance can complicate items such as paperwork. And poor communication will make managing remote employees even tougher.

But you’ll be changing your tune when you invest in the right software. And your remote teams will be over the moon when you use strategies to promote culture, engagement, and communication. Before you know it, managing teams in different locations will be a piece of cake.

Are you thinking about investing in applicant tracking software or onboarding software? Contact us today.

Photo by Antonio Janeski on Unsplash

 

How to Write a Job Description

Indeed.com, just one of many jobs sites, is home to more than 16 million job postings. How can yours stand out? How can you avoid underqualified applicants? Most importantly, how can you persuade the best candidates to apply to your company?

The answers to all of these questions begin with your job description. That small post of just a few hundred words has to do some heavy lifting. Your job description must be optimized for search algorithms. It must be clear and honest to help candidates self-qualify. Your job ad has to subtly communicate the awesomeness of your company to a small pool of coveted, well-qualified candidates.

Your job description must accomplish all these goals for one purpose: to convert only the best job seekers into a manageable pool of applicants. How can you write a job description packed with that much power?

Job Description Writing Guide

When thinking about how to write a job description, there are two things to keep in mind. First, you’re writing for the search engines. Second, you’re writing for the job candidates. Each of these “audiences” requires a different approach.

Search engine writing elevates your ad near the top of search results where applicants can find it. Writing your job description with keywords will guide algorithms to your ad. Keywords should appear in your job title and the description, especially the first paragraph. The meta title and meta description should also include keywords.

Keywords will get your ad in front of the applicant. But only clear and compelling writing will persuade readers to complete the application. When asking yourself how do you write a good job description, start by identifying your ideal candidate. Then create a job ad that appeals to that person.

Sometimes, a boss will ask employees to write their own job descriptions. Ideally, several stakeholders should be involved in crafting job ads. HR professionals should seek input from the supervisor overseeing the new hire and also the position’s co-workers. A marketing professional or content writer can craft a job description that is both SEO optimized and compelling for applicants.

 

Mobile Recruiting Guide

Best practices for Writing Job Descriptions

The best practices for writing job descriptions seamlessly weave SEO writing with persuasive writing. If you’re learning how to write your own job description, start by crafting a job description that clearly identifies the role. This description becomes the blueprint to which you add keywords. Finally, you’ll rework your description to persuade job seekers to apply.

What do you write in a job description? Things like the job title, pay range and shift should appear at the top. Next, include a brief summary of your company. Follow this by a summary of how the job fits into the goals of the company. You’ll want to include the most important or time-consuming duties and responsibilities for the position. Identify the minimum qualifications. Finally, identify unique requirements for the job, such as heavy lifting or repetitive hand motions.

Identify what words job seekers are using to find your position. These become your keywords. Use both general and specific terms. The first paragraph of your job description should contain all of your keywords.

Perhaps you’re writing a job ad for what your company calls a project manager. But many industries employ project managers. Someone searching for a position as an IT project manager would not be a good fit for a litigation support project manager. If your job description is for an industry-specific position, then include that information as a keyword.

Include keywords that specify required skillsets. “Java-Script Computer Programmer” or “B2B Content Creator” act as longtail keywords. They are more likely to appear at the top of results for applicants searching these terms. Being specific with your job titles will also help applicants self-qualify.

A Good Job Description Template with Job Responsibilities

When wondering how do you write an effective job description, consider your ideal candidate. What does this person want? For example, perhaps you want someone who works well with a team. This person wants to feel like a valued team member. Perhaps you want someone who can work independently. This person wants to feel trusted and empowered.

Notice that you’re writing to appeal to your ideal candidate’s emotions. In this way, writing your job description is much like writing content for customers. You want your candidates to feel good about applying to your company in the same way you make customers feel good about purchasing.

The best practice for writing the duties and responsibilities section of a job description will tap into a candidate’s desire to support a larger cause. Any job duties list can be written to tap into the applicant’s desire to contribute to something bigger than themselves. If you already track employees’ roles and responsibilities in an Excel or Word template, you can rewrite them from this purpose-centered perspective.

A job seeker’s decision to apply to your company is largely an emotional decision. In this way, applicant conversion is similar to customer conversion. However, you’re only hiring a few select applicants. Effective job descriptions will increase the number of preferable applicants while discouraging undesirable or unqualified applicants.

You can do this by highlighting the emotional benefits that the company values. For example, perhaps your open sales position requires travel. Enticing someone who “wants to see the world” may not attract the type of candidates you want. But you’ll appeal to more desirable applicants if you highlight the opportunity to “work with some of the most innovative and culturally diverse software clients in the world.”

Good Job Description Examples

Rework the key components of a job description to highlight the benefits applicants may enjoy.  The best job descriptions for 2021 will highlight benefits in relation to a purpose-orientated mindset.

Good job description examples of the duties and responsibilities for a receptionist may include answering the phone. A compelling description may be, “Be the friendly first point-of-contact for Esperion Therapeutics. Ensure a great customer experience by correctly determining callers’ needs and identifying the person or department best suited to meet those needs.”

Perhaps you’re wondering how to develop a job description for a service technician who will travel to repair equipment for clients. A persuasive job description may read, “Use your mechanical know-how to ensure a consistent customer experience. Keep client productions running smoothly when you travel to client locations nation-wide to diagnose and repair equipment or perform maintenance.”

What Job Descriptions Should Not Include

Now you know your job ad needs keywords and compelling writing. But what should not be included in a job description?

Overwrought Job Titles. Don’t include words like rock star, ninja, connoisseur, or anything similar in your job titles. Rather than creative, these words seem dated and desperate. Candidates aren’t using these terms to search anyway.

Unrealistic Qualifications. Ask yourself if you really need a branch manager with a Master’s degree. Or a receptionist who speaks Spanish. Or an assistant who can write Excel macros. Some qualifications aren’t as important as you may think.

Too Much Positivity. You also want to realistically assess the job. Is there something about the position that may be a deal breaker for some people? If the job requires overtime or working weekends or excessive travel, then clearly say so in the description.

Jargon and Abbreviations. Your words should be clear to a general audience and spelled out completely for search engines. Don’t use terms that only people in your industry or company would understand. Don’t use abbreviations.

Complete List of a Role’s Tasks. Your job description should not be an exhaustive list of the position’s duties. For legal purposes and to avoid wrongful termination suits, include phrasing that allows supervisors to expand responsibilities for the role.

Final Thoughts

Recruiters need to do more to attract top talent. With more than half of job seekers going to online job boards, the work of getting noticed by quality applicants begins with your job description. This small block of text must appeal to algorithms as well your ideal candidates.

But what happens when your amazing job description spurs a candidate to apply? The best job descriptions will fizzle if they end with email instructions. You can keep the momentum going when your job ad directs clients to a branded careers site where they can learn more about your company. You can sort and manage the data from the influx of awesome candidates when your branded careers site feeds into an applicant tracking system.

Do you want to know more about how to connect with job seekers online? Download our free guide, Connecting with Job Seekers in the Digital Age.

 

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

How Text Messaging Fills Positions Faster

Move over Zoom. The pandemic has bumped up another mode of communication: texting. Overall, 50 percent of the population is using text more often since the pandemic began. And if you’re one of the few recruiters not using text messaging for hiring, I might be SMH (shaking my head) at you.

Texting has been on the rise since the first 10-year old Millennial received a cell phone—check that—since the first two 10-year old Millennials received a cell phone. Businesses have been marketing with text for years and have seen huge results. Success with text marketing is no surprise considering a read rate of 97 percent within 15 minutes.

Okay, so maybe every American sends and receives about a 100 texts per day. But does that really make text messaging effective for recruiting and hiring?

 

Leverage Text Recruiting

Text Messaging Is Effective

Just ask Home Depot. The home improvement giant saw a 50 percent increase in response rate for texting applicants versus other methods since implementing a robust text recruiting strategy.

Like working from home and Zoom calls, text messaging in business recruiting is here to stay. There are just too many benefits of text recruiting, including speed and efficiency.

Both the hiring manager and the applicant save time composing a text versus an email. And unlike email, nearly everyone reads their texts, oftentimes within 15 minutes.

And if you’re still wondering is email or text messaging more effective for response rates, 82 percent of people turn on notifications from their text messaging apps. That’s probably much more than email considering only 27 percent of those who primarily use their phone to check email do so as the emails arrive.

Busy recruiters can manage multiple conversations in less time. That kind of efficiency is especially helpful for positions that typically have a high turnover rate. If you hire for these high turnover jobs often, then pre-screening may become one of your favorite benefits of text recruiting.

Pre-screening applicants over the phone can be time-consuming. But what if you could start winnowing down your hiring choice with a text conversation? You could get a lot of common deal breakers out of the way, such as verifying the candidate is still looking for a job and has reliable transportation.

The speed and efficiency of texting can reduce your time-to-hire metrics, especially for your high turnover, hourly positions. If you’re still wondering is text messaging acceptable, just ask the 86 percent of Millennials prefer texting during the recruiting process.

Hiring Problems That Text Messaging Solves

Text messaging has grown from a vehicle for informal teen chats to a commonplace form of communication in all areas of life. Texting efficiently relays information without the time-consuming small talk of phoning. It’s only natural that texting has made its way into the recruiter’s toolbox as an effective solution to several problems.

Text messaging applicants is more efficient than phone interviewing. Phoning potential interviewees is time-consuming. You’re unable to do anything else while you’re dialing, waiting for an answer, and actually talking to the candidate. Multiply the process by the several calls required for each open position and you’re easily losing hours in the first step of the interview process.

When you text message job candidates, you can quickly narrow down your choices. Save time by text messaging screening questions concerning a candidate’s availability and access to transportation. When you’re ready, you can schedule candidate interviews with text messaging.

Text messaging will reduce applicant ghosting. Increasingly, job applicants don’t respond to traditional communications. Most email messages—80 percent—remain unread. Entry-level job seekers do not always have email. Most people don’t answer calls from unknown callers, and many voicemail boxes are full or not set up.

On the other hand, nearly all texts are read within 15 minutes of being sent. Millennials, especially, are open to responding to texts from unknown senders. Typing away on a smartphone doesn’t deter applicants who already use their phones to apply for jobs.

Phone calls and emails can’t match the speed and effectiveness text messaging offers. But if you don’t have applicant tracking software to manage your text messaging efforts, you risk appearing unprofessional.

How to Text Message Professionally

If you didn’t know what SMH meant before reading this article, don’t feel bad; I didn’t either. Luckily, neither of us needs to be as fluent as a teenager in texting slang. If you’re recruiting via text, then you want to keep it as professional as possible. Adhering to professional text messaging etiquette while recruiting will reinforce a positive impression of your company.

  • Ask for permission to text during the application process. While it may be convenient for you, it may be a hassle for your applicant. Think of asking first as the golden rule for any business wishing to communicate via text.
  • Identify yourself, your company, and the reason for your text. Candidates have probably applied to multiple companies. Clearly identifying yourself and your purpose prevents any confusion. Using a text messaging template for recruiting will help you keep it professional.
  • Avoid texting slang. Always spell the word rather than rely on acronyms. Use proper punctuation and capitalize the first letter of every sentence. Never, ever use emojis.
  • Be personable. Don’t let your applicant feel as if she is talking to a chatbot. Address her by name and thank her for her time. Remember, your text is her first indication of how the company will treat her if she becomes an employee.

You can use applicant tracking software to create a professional texting strategy. A custom online application can ask the applicant for permission to text. From there, you can create text messaging templates for your hiring needs. You can even set the text messaging time of day using applicant tracking software.

Develop a Text Recruiting Strategy

Incorporating text messaging as part of your talent strategy can improve your time-to-hire metrics. Applicant tracking software that includes text recruiting campaigns will streamline and organize your efforts. Your strategy should develop text messaging cadences to avoid overwhelming the candidate with too many messages. You’ll reduce applicant ghosting significantly when you combine text messaging with email and phone. Finally, text messaging templates for hiring will help ensure your text recruiting campaign reflects your brand’s voice.

Text messaging was rising long before the pandemic. Now, social distancing means people are texting 50 percent more than before. Covid made texting mainstream, much like remote work and Zoom meetings. It makes more sense than ever to use texting in your recruiting campaigns.

Are you unsure of how to start engaging applicants on their mobile devices? Download our guide, Leveraging Text Recruiting to Engage Job Seekers. You’ll learn how to measure and maximize your mobile recruiting effectiveness.

 

Photo by Domingo Alvarez E on Unsplash

 

Don’t Expect Job Seekers to Complete Your Long Employment Application

While you have the best of intentions when it comes to improving your employer’s hiring process and better engaging job seekers, if you’re being honest, you’ve let a few excuses keep you from taking action to attract more applicants and retain employees. Don’t let excuses like the global pandemic continue to immobilize you from taking action to hire top talent now.

One of the common excuses we at ExactHire have seen lately is when prospective clients assume that they don’t need to shorten their employment application because a higher unemployment rate will ensure they still receive plenty of eager job seekers–regardless of a job application’s length. They do need a job after all, right?

This is the second video in a series about identifying the excuses we often hear and the strategies that ExactHire has the experience to know make a difference in your hiring success.

Long Job Application | Hiring Process Improvement

Video Transcript:

Hi, I’m Jessica Stephenson with ExactHire, and I’m here to share my latest “no excuses” video for those of you looking to fine tune your hiring processes for better job seeker engagement. And even though it can be tempting to use the pandemic as your excuse for waiting on those unemployed job seekers’ applications to roll in…your employment competitors already know that you can and should do more to engage future employees. And, they’re taking advantage of that knowledge, too.

Excuse: If they really want the job, they’ll complete the whole application!

So here’s the next excuse we at ExactHire know that some employers have been holding onto for far too long!…. If they really want the job, they’ll complete the whole application.

Once upon a time, this was more true. And, perhaps it will be sort of true once again as economic factors continue to shift over time.

In the meantime, your organization–however beloved it is in the eyes of your community–will never be so precious that it can entice top talent to complete a 52-question job application.

The job application rate numbers don’t lie.

According to an Appcast study referenced by SHRM, job application completion rates plummet by nearly 50 percent when an application has 50 or more questions rather than 25 or fewer.

Others say the impact is worse–Indeed research suggests that employment applications with just 20 screener questions lose 40% of candidates, with abandonment rate increasing as more questions are added.

You can bet that increasingly tech-savvy and on-the-go job seekers are abandoning your laundry list of a job application as we speak…their attention is only retained if you can allow them to raise their hand of interest on your opportunity quickly.

Your job seekers…and you…deserve better!

Strategy: Trim the question fat.

So, what do you do first? The obvious initial strategy is to shorten your application. But, obvious doesn’t mean easy.

Take the time to audit your application questions and consider what really needs to be asked at the onset of your hiring process. Do you need their references on the app; or, can you get them at the interview?

Modern hiring software makes it easy to edit and preview your application to include the optimal number of questions for your organization.

Think about how your application will appear to a job seeker as you make edits and then save it as a draft before you decide to publish it.

Still feeling overwhelmed? Okay, but probably not as overwhelmed as your job seekers are when they look at your current job application? No worries, we can help at ExactHire. Check out the link below and let’s improve your job seeker employment journey together!

Schedule a demo with ExactHire now!

We’re ready to learn about your hiring process!

Check out the other videos in this series…

Application Process is Worse Than You Think
Job Seekers Aren't Patient in Hiring Process
Long Job Application | Hiring Process Improvement

 

How to Manage Teams in Different Locations

I love the way grandmothers pack priceless wisdom into colorful phrases. Phrases like “when the cat is away, the mice will play” speak volumes about the human tendency to slack off when the boss isn’t around. Or how about this one: “out of sight, out of mind.” When something isn’t in front of me, it gets pushed to the back of my mind.

Maybe you think of these phrases when wondering how to manage teams in different locations. Conventional wisdom says managing dispersed teams is a headache. You can’t possibly make sure your staff isn’t goofing off. You wonder how to handle managerial tasks for a team possibly hundreds of miles away.

Nothing against Grandma, but her notions of remote management are a bit old-fashioned. With the right strategies and software in place, you’ll take to managing dispersed teams like a fish takes to water.

Considerations for Hiring Dispersed Teams

Grandma would say you can’t separate the wheat from the chaff when hiring a dispersed team. When you post job openings for multiple locations, you run the risk of missing high-quality applicants if your process is unorganized. Hiring employees at multiple locations requires strategic planning and implementation.

Perhaps one of the biggest considerations for hiring dispersed teams is maintaining your company’s branding. Multiple locations will probably develop their own unique culture. Your branding becomes the glue that binds employees in different locations to your company’s vision. Without strong branding, different locations may begin to feel like independent outposts for employees as well as customers.

You can introduce applicants to your company’s values, vision, and character with a branded careers site. A single careers website can manage applications for job postings at all of your company’s locations, even allowing job seekers to apply to multiple jobs with one application. Not only will you elevate your brand in your applicants’ eyes, you’ll be able to uncover more qualified candidates and manage applicant data from a cloud-based software system accessible at all of your locations.

From within the applicant tracking system, you’ll be able to sort applicants using a variety of data fields, including location. You can then assign tasks to individuals on hiring teams throughout the organization. You’ll be able to view applicants’ progress throughout the hiring process.

Perhaps most importantly, an ATS will give your hiring teams the tools they need to work independently without sacrificing your ability to oversee the process. An ATS can eliminate many of the intra-company emails and phone calls that hinder hiring across locations. With all the benefits of an ATS, I think Grandma might finally agree you can have your cake and eat it too.

 

Multi-Site Management of Employee Onboarding

Grandma might warn you against biting off more than you can chew when it comes to multi-site management of employee onboarding. It’s true that onboarding new hires at multiple sites can be problematic. Ineffective onboarding will cut into your bottom line, decrease your company’s productivity, and possibly leave you vulnerable to lawsuits.

Employees who undergo a comprehensive onboarding program are productive in their new roles more quickly. Effective onboarding can also improve employee retention. Onboarding software can help you create a consistent and effective onboarding process for all of your locations. You can use these digital onboarding tools when introducing your new hires to your company. Training modules within onboarding software can be customized for each position and its location.

New employee forms get trickier during cross-office collaboration. The best onboarding software will determine the correct new employee forms for each position and location. You won’t need to worry about your hiring teams forgetting about non-compete agreements for new sales people. And you can be sure the correct city payroll tax withholdings are on file. Best of all, onboarding software stores your completed new employee forms digitally. If your new sales person leaves for a competitor a few years down the road, you won’t need to chase down a paper copy of that non-compete agreement.

Even Grandma has to admit, onboarding software leaves no stone unturned.

 

Managing Employees at Multiple Locations

Grandma wouldn’t want you burning the candle at both ends when managing employees at multiple locations. Each location may develop a culture inconsistent with your company’s values. Productivity may suffer when employees aren’t engaged in the company’s larger mission. Poor communication can enhance existing problems.

You can address the challenges of managing employees in different locations by proactively managing your workplace culture. Create a comprehensive onboarding process with an emphasis on your company’s values and mission. Existing employees may benefit from training that focuses on your company’s culture. Try implementing a rewards program for employees who demonstrate behavior consistent with your values.

Nurturing a positive culture and workplace environment will help engage employees. You can also increase employee engagement by offering skill development training. Dispersed employees could access advanced training modules within your onboarding software or classes online. Think about pairing employees at remote locations with mentors working from the company headquarters. These mentors can help employees navigate the company’s dynamics.

Stakeholders need strong communication skills to make these strategies for managing teams at multiple locations successful. Managers with poor communication skills struggle with how to increase collaboration between teams and improve cross-departmental communication. Remind these managers to have regular video conferences with remote team members. Email is great for task-related communication. But only a phone or video call can nurture meaningful connections between co-workers.

You can overcome the challenges of managing and leading remote teams through culture, engagement, and communication. When you use these strategies, your employees will feel more emotionally invested in their roles and happy as clams.

Final Thoughts

Conventional wisdom may say that managing teams in different locations is difficult. Dispersed worksites tend to develop their own culture. Distance can complicate items such as paperwork. And poor communication will make managing remote employees even tougher.

But you’ll be changing your tune when you invest in the right software. And your remote teams will be over the moon when you use strategies to promote culture, engagement, and communication. Before you know it, managing teams in different locations will be a piece of cake.

Are you thinking about investing in applicant tracking software or onboarding software? Contact us today.

Photo by Antonio Janeski on Unsplash

 

How to Write a Job Description

Indeed.com, just one of many jobs sites, is home to more than 16 million job postings. How can yours stand out? How can you avoid underqualified applicants? Most importantly, how can you persuade the best candidates to apply to your company?

The answers to all of these questions begin with your job description. That small post of just a few hundred words has to do some heavy lifting. Your job description must be optimized for search algorithms. It must be clear and honest to help candidates self-qualify. Your job ad has to subtly communicate the awesomeness of your company to a small pool of coveted, well-qualified candidates.

Your job description must accomplish all these goals for one purpose: to convert only the best job seekers into a manageable pool of applicants. How can you write a job description packed with that much power?

Job Description Writing Guide

When thinking about how to write a job description, there are two things to keep in mind. First, you’re writing for the search engines. Second, you’re writing for the job candidates. Each of these “audiences” requires a different approach.

Search engine writing elevates your ad near the top of search results where applicants can find it. Writing your job description with keywords will guide algorithms to your ad. Keywords should appear in your job title and the description, especially the first paragraph. The meta title and meta description should also include keywords.

Keywords will get your ad in front of the applicant. But only clear and compelling writing will persuade readers to complete the application. When asking yourself how do you write a good job description, start by identifying your ideal candidate. Then create a job ad that appeals to that person.

Sometimes, a boss will ask employees to write their own job descriptions. Ideally, several stakeholders should be involved in crafting job ads. HR professionals should seek input from the supervisor overseeing the new hire and also the position’s co-workers. A marketing professional or content writer can craft a job description that is both SEO optimized and compelling for applicants.

 

Mobile Recruiting Guide

Best practices for Writing Job Descriptions

The best practices for writing job descriptions seamlessly weave SEO writing with persuasive writing. If you’re learning how to write your own job description, start by crafting a job description that clearly identifies the role. This description becomes the blueprint to which you add keywords. Finally, you’ll rework your description to persuade job seekers to apply.

What do you write in a job description? Things like the job title, pay range and shift should appear at the top. Next, include a brief summary of your company. Follow this by a summary of how the job fits into the goals of the company. You’ll want to include the most important or time-consuming duties and responsibilities for the position. Identify the minimum qualifications. Finally, identify unique requirements for the job, such as heavy lifting or repetitive hand motions.

Identify what words job seekers are using to find your position. These become your keywords. Use both general and specific terms. The first paragraph of your job description should contain all of your keywords.

Perhaps you’re writing a job ad for what your company calls a project manager. But many industries employ project managers. Someone searching for a position as an IT project manager would not be a good fit for a litigation support project manager. If your job description is for an industry-specific position, then include that information as a keyword.

Include keywords that specify required skillsets. “Java-Script Computer Programmer” or “B2B Content Creator” act as longtail keywords. They are more likely to appear at the top of results for applicants searching these terms. Being specific with your job titles will also help applicants self-qualify.

A Good Job Description Template with Job Responsibilities

When wondering how do you write an effective job description, consider your ideal candidate. What does this person want? For example, perhaps you want someone who works well with a team. This person wants to feel like a valued team member. Perhaps you want someone who can work independently. This person wants to feel trusted and empowered.

Notice that you’re writing to appeal to your ideal candidate’s emotions. In this way, writing your job description is much like writing content for customers. You want your candidates to feel good about applying to your company in the same way you make customers feel good about purchasing.

The best practice for writing the duties and responsibilities section of a job description will tap into a candidate’s desire to support a larger cause. Any job duties list can be written to tap into the applicant’s desire to contribute to something bigger than themselves. If you already track employees’ roles and responsibilities in an Excel or Word template, you can rewrite them from this purpose-centered perspective.

A job seeker’s decision to apply to your company is largely an emotional decision. In this way, applicant conversion is similar to customer conversion. However, you’re only hiring a few select applicants. Effective job descriptions will increase the number of preferable applicants while discouraging undesirable or unqualified applicants.

You can do this by highlighting the emotional benefits that the company values. For example, perhaps your open sales position requires travel. Enticing someone who “wants to see the world” may not attract the type of candidates you want. But you’ll appeal to more desirable applicants if you highlight the opportunity to “work with some of the most innovative and culturally diverse software clients in the world.”

Good Job Description Examples

Rework the key components of a job description to highlight the benefits applicants may enjoy.  The best job descriptions for 2021 will highlight benefits in relation to a purpose-orientated mindset.

Good job description examples of the duties and responsibilities for a receptionist may include answering the phone. A compelling description may be, “Be the friendly first point-of-contact for Esperion Therapeutics. Ensure a great customer experience by correctly determining callers’ needs and identifying the person or department best suited to meet those needs.”

Perhaps you’re wondering how to develop a job description for a service technician who will travel to repair equipment for clients. A persuasive job description may read, “Use your mechanical know-how to ensure a consistent customer experience. Keep client productions running smoothly when you travel to client locations nation-wide to diagnose and repair equipment or perform maintenance.”

What Job Descriptions Should Not Include

Now you know your job ad needs keywords and compelling writing. But what should not be included in a job description?

Overwrought Job Titles. Don’t include words like rock star, ninja, connoisseur, or anything similar in your job titles. Rather than creative, these words seem dated and desperate. Candidates aren’t using these terms to search anyway.

Unrealistic Qualifications. Ask yourself if you really need a branch manager with a Master’s degree. Or a receptionist who speaks Spanish. Or an assistant who can write Excel macros. Some qualifications aren’t as important as you may think.

Too Much Positivity. You also want to realistically assess the job. Is there something about the position that may be a deal breaker for some people? If the job requires overtime or working weekends or excessive travel, then clearly say so in the description.

Jargon and Abbreviations. Your words should be clear to a general audience and spelled out completely for search engines. Don’t use terms that only people in your industry or company would understand. Don’t use abbreviations.

Complete List of a Role’s Tasks. Your job description should not be an exhaustive list of the position’s duties. For legal purposes and to avoid wrongful termination suits, include phrasing that allows supervisors to expand responsibilities for the role.

Final Thoughts

Recruiters need to do more to attract top talent. With more than half of job seekers going to online job boards, the work of getting noticed by quality applicants begins with your job description. This small block of text must appeal to algorithms as well your ideal candidates.

But what happens when your amazing job description spurs a candidate to apply? The best job descriptions will fizzle if they end with email instructions. You can keep the momentum going when your job ad directs clients to a branded careers site where they can learn more about your company. You can sort and manage the data from the influx of awesome candidates when your branded careers site feeds into an applicant tracking system.

Do you want to know more about how to connect with job seekers online? Download our free guide, Connecting with Job Seekers in the Digital Age.

 

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

How Text Messaging Fills Positions Faster

Move over Zoom. The pandemic has bumped up another mode of communication: texting. Overall, 50 percent of the population is using text more often since the pandemic began. And if you’re one of the few recruiters not using text messaging for hiring, I might be SMH (shaking my head) at you.

Texting has been on the rise since the first 10-year old Millennial received a cell phone—check that—since the first two 10-year old Millennials received a cell phone. Businesses have been marketing with text for years and have seen huge results. Success with text marketing is no surprise considering a read rate of 97 percent within 15 minutes.

Okay, so maybe every American sends and receives about a 100 texts per day. But does that really make text messaging effective for recruiting and hiring?

 

Leverage Text Recruiting

Text Messaging Is Effective

Just ask Home Depot. The home improvement giant saw a 50 percent increase in response rate for texting applicants versus other methods since implementing a robust text recruiting strategy.

Like working from home and Zoom calls, text messaging in business recruiting is here to stay. There are just too many benefits of text recruiting, including speed and efficiency.

Both the hiring manager and the applicant save time composing a text versus an email. And unlike email, nearly everyone reads their texts, oftentimes within 15 minutes.

And if you’re still wondering is email or text messaging more effective for response rates, 82 percent of people turn on notifications from their text messaging apps. That’s probably much more than email considering only 27 percent of those who primarily use their phone to check email do so as the emails arrive.

Busy recruiters can manage multiple conversations in less time. That kind of efficiency is especially helpful for positions that typically have a high turnover rate. If you hire for these high turnover jobs often, then pre-screening may become one of your favorite benefits of text recruiting.

Pre-screening applicants over the phone can be time-consuming. But what if you could start winnowing down your hiring choice with a text conversation? You could get a lot of common deal breakers out of the way, such as verifying the candidate is still looking for a job and has reliable transportation.

The speed and efficiency of texting can reduce your time-to-hire metrics, especially for your high turnover, hourly positions. If you’re still wondering is text messaging acceptable, just ask the 86 percent of Millennials prefer texting during the recruiting process.

Hiring Problems That Text Messaging Solves

Text messaging has grown from a vehicle for informal teen chats to a commonplace form of communication in all areas of life. Texting efficiently relays information without the time-consuming small talk of phoning. It’s only natural that texting has made its way into the recruiter’s toolbox as an effective solution to several problems.

Text messaging applicants is more efficient than phone interviewing. Phoning potential interviewees is time-consuming. You’re unable to do anything else while you’re dialing, waiting for an answer, and actually talking to the candidate. Multiply the process by the several calls required for each open position and you’re easily losing hours in the first step of the interview process.

When you text message job candidates, you can quickly narrow down your choices. Save time by text messaging screening questions concerning a candidate’s availability and access to transportation. When you’re ready, you can schedule candidate interviews with text messaging.

Text messaging will reduce applicant ghosting. Increasingly, job applicants don’t respond to traditional communications. Most email messages—80 percent—remain unread. Entry-level job seekers do not always have email. Most people don’t answer calls from unknown callers, and many voicemail boxes are full or not set up.

On the other hand, nearly all texts are read within 15 minutes of being sent. Millennials, especially, are open to responding to texts from unknown senders. Typing away on a smartphone doesn’t deter applicants who already use their phones to apply for jobs.

Phone calls and emails can’t match the speed and effectiveness text messaging offers. But if you don’t have applicant tracking software to manage your text messaging efforts, you risk appearing unprofessional.

How to Text Message Professionally

If you didn’t know what SMH meant before reading this article, don’t feel bad; I didn’t either. Luckily, neither of us needs to be as fluent as a teenager in texting slang. If you’re recruiting via text, then you want to keep it as professional as possible. Adhering to professional text messaging etiquette while recruiting will reinforce a positive impression of your company.

  • Ask for permission to text during the application process. While it may be convenient for you, it may be a hassle for your applicant. Think of asking first as the golden rule for any business wishing to communicate via text.
  • Identify yourself, your company, and the reason for your text. Candidates have probably applied to multiple companies. Clearly identifying yourself and your purpose prevents any confusion. Using a text messaging template for recruiting will help you keep it professional.
  • Avoid texting slang. Always spell the word rather than rely on acronyms. Use proper punctuation and capitalize the first letter of every sentence. Never, ever use emojis.
  • Be personable. Don’t let your applicant feel as if she is talking to a chatbot. Address her by name and thank her for her time. Remember, your text is her first indication of how the company will treat her if she becomes an employee.

You can use applicant tracking software to create a professional texting strategy. A custom online application can ask the applicant for permission to text. From there, you can create text messaging templates for your hiring needs. You can even set the text messaging time of day using applicant tracking software.

Develop a Text Recruiting Strategy

Incorporating text messaging as part of your talent strategy can improve your time-to-hire metrics. Applicant tracking software that includes text recruiting campaigns will streamline and organize your efforts. Your strategy should develop text messaging cadences to avoid overwhelming the candidate with too many messages. You’ll reduce applicant ghosting significantly when you combine text messaging with email and phone. Finally, text messaging templates for hiring will help ensure your text recruiting campaign reflects your brand’s voice.

Text messaging was rising long before the pandemic. Now, social distancing means people are texting 50 percent more than before. Covid made texting mainstream, much like remote work and Zoom meetings. It makes more sense than ever to use texting in your recruiting campaigns.

Are you unsure of how to start engaging applicants on their mobile devices? Download our guide, Leveraging Text Recruiting to Engage Job Seekers. You’ll learn how to measure and maximize your mobile recruiting effectiveness.

 

Photo by Domingo Alvarez E on Unsplash

 

Don’t Expect Job Seekers to Complete Your Long Employment Application

While you have the best of intentions when it comes to improving your employer’s hiring process and better engaging job seekers, if you’re being honest, you’ve let a few excuses keep you from taking action to attract more applicants and retain employees. Don’t let excuses like the global pandemic continue to immobilize you from taking action to hire top talent now.

One of the common excuses we at ExactHire have seen lately is when prospective clients assume that they don’t need to shorten their employment application because a higher unemployment rate will ensure they still receive plenty of eager job seekers–regardless of a job application’s length. They do need a job after all, right?

This is the second video in a series about identifying the excuses we often hear and the strategies that ExactHire has the experience to know make a difference in your hiring success.

Long Job Application | Hiring Process Improvement

Video Transcript:

Hi, I’m Jessica Stephenson with ExactHire, and I’m here to share my latest “no excuses” video for those of you looking to fine tune your hiring processes for better job seeker engagement. And even though it can be tempting to use the pandemic as your excuse for waiting on those unemployed job seekers’ applications to roll in…your employment competitors already know that you can and should do more to engage future employees. And, they’re taking advantage of that knowledge, too.

Excuse: If they really want the job, they’ll complete the whole application!

So here’s the next excuse we at ExactHire know that some employers have been holding onto for far too long!…. If they really want the job, they’ll complete the whole application.

Once upon a time, this was more true. And, perhaps it will be sort of true once again as economic factors continue to shift over time.

In the meantime, your organization–however beloved it is in the eyes of your community–will never be so precious that it can entice top talent to complete a 52-question job application.

The job application rate numbers don’t lie.

According to an Appcast study referenced by SHRM, job application completion rates plummet by nearly 50 percent when an application has 50 or more questions rather than 25 or fewer.

Others say the impact is worse–Indeed research suggests that employment applications with just 20 screener questions lose 40% of candidates, with abandonment rate increasing as more questions are added.

You can bet that increasingly tech-savvy and on-the-go job seekers are abandoning your laundry list of a job application as we speak…their attention is only retained if you can allow them to raise their hand of interest on your opportunity quickly.

Your job seekers…and you…deserve better!

Strategy: Trim the question fat.

So, what do you do first? The obvious initial strategy is to shorten your application. But, obvious doesn’t mean easy.

Take the time to audit your application questions and consider what really needs to be asked at the onset of your hiring process. Do you need their references on the app; or, can you get them at the interview?

Modern hiring software makes it easy to edit and preview your application to include the optimal number of questions for your organization.

Think about how your application will appear to a job seeker as you make edits and then save it as a draft before you decide to publish it.

Still feeling overwhelmed? Okay, but probably not as overwhelmed as your job seekers are when they look at your current job application? No worries, we can help at ExactHire. Check out the link below and let’s improve your job seeker employment journey together!

Schedule a demo with ExactHire now!

We’re ready to learn about your hiring process!

Check out the other videos in this series…

Application Process is Worse Than You Think
Job Seekers Aren't Patient in Hiring Process
Long Job Application | Hiring Process Improvement

 

5 Pro Tips for Quickly Pivoting to a Virtual Employee Onboarding Process

The new normal of living amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic is causing many employers to adopt new business processes…and to adopt them quite quickly.

For those organizations who are fortunate enough to continue hiring new employees, one of those business processes is to learn how to correctly onboard remote employees in a distributed workforce.

A hastily created employee onboarding process will put new hires at risk of feeling disconnected from their work and organization. On the other hand, a productive virtual employee onboarding program will forge a connection between the new teammate and the organization; thereby, positively contributing to employee satisfaction and the goals of the organization despite the uncertainty and hardship attributable to our current coronavirus reality.

Are you ready to pivot to a distributed workforce? Whether virtual employee onboarding is a brand new practice at your company, or you’re just looking for ways to fine tune employee onboarding for distributed workforces, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I’ll discuss five best practices for quickly pivoting to a virtual employee onboarding process.

1 – Create a “remote-first” pre-boarding experience

With so much uncertainty on everyone’s mind, your new hire’s interactions with your organization in the days leading up to his start date shouldn’t further increase his anxiety. Make a toolkit of digital assets to share with a new teammate to make sure he feels adequately prepared and informed on day one. Here are some ideas:

  • Provide an organizational chart listing all employee names, titles and the hierarchy of the management structure. If you are a part of a very large organization, then a chart of the new employee’s department and/or division may be sufficient.
  • Create a task list or training schedule for the new hire’s first few days on the job. Create this in a shared document (e.g. Google Docs) that can be edited on-the-fly to include additional tasks as time progresses, as well as hyperlinked resource documents. With this approach, the employee can follow links to conduct further research to acquaint himself with your company and its organizational knowledge as his schedule permits.
  • Task relevant co-workers with creating video welcome messages to be shared with the new employee in the days leading up to the first day. We use a variety of tools at ExactHire (ranging from completely free to very affordable) such as video capture on our smartphones, and video applications like Soapbox, Vidyard and Camtasia.
  • Share a short, hyperlinked list of your company’s social media profiles with the new hire, as well as expectations about whether he is likely to be bombarded by social media invitation requests in his first week (as this can be a common way for remote workers to connect with one another).
  • Make it clear what equipment will be provided by the company (and by what date), and/or whether the new hire is responsible for bringing any of his own devices to his remote workstation. Ensure that all devices are accompanied by robust instructions on how to use and/or setup appropriate security protocols for effective work within the organization.

2 – Leverage the unique onboarding resources now available to your organization

While social distancing has caused many of us to approach the work setting in dramatically different ways, it has also led to the installation of a handful of new laws and limited regulations meant to help the American working population and employers cope with this crisis. Aside from new laws such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also recently relaxed its normal requirements for Form I-9 compliance when hiring new employees. This change will help employees who have never hired remote workers to examine and temporarily approve employment eligibility documentation with confidence.

In particular, DHS has “[deferred] the physical presence requirements associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) under Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence.”

However, not all employers meet the criteria necessary for taking advantage of the option to initially virtually examine new hire documentation. In fact, only employers who have gone 100% remote for all employees may utilize this temporary flexibility in document examination. For more details on which organizations qualify and what documentation is necessary to participate, check out this recent Forbes article.

3 – Make a short list of near-term new hire expectations

To make this pivot toward remote onboarding manageable and relatively fast, focus on only the absolutely critical expectations that you need all new hires to know right from the start. In doing so, make sure you communicate that the current situation necessitates focusing on the “must-knows” initially, but that icing-on-the-cake knowledge and nurturing will be sure to follow as things calm down a bit.

Your new hire will appreciate your candor, and be more likely to establish trust in the organization early because it is helping to flesh out priorities to ensure the new hire’s success.

Here are some examples of employee expectations that may resonate with your team. Be sure to educate your new hire about each of the items below that may be important for his work.

  • Training prerequisites that must be completed before certain aspects of a job can be endeavored (e.g. safety, password security protocol)
  • Preferred methods for co-workers to communicate with each other (e.g. email, phone, Slack, text, video conference, project management tool comments)
  • Mission-critical reports and metrics that must be updated…and with what frequency

Remember that while your ability to equip your new employee with these essential bits of information can shorten his learning curve and improve outcomes, don’t forget that our normal isn’t so normal right now. In fact, it reminds me of an unidentified quote that my co-worker shared on our Slack channel today…one that very appropriately describes the current plight for many of America’s remote workers:

“You’re not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work.”

There’s a place for grace right now.

4 – Communicate your culture

While company culture can be somewhat nebulous to describe to others, as it is often something experienced for one’s self in-person, there’s no doubt that remote cultures exist, too.

However, it may take longer to assimilate remote workers to cultural norms if you don’t take strides to help them take seed early. Here are some ways to make your virtual culture more quickly tangible:

  • Facilitate video introductions between a new hire and fellow department members and other key co-workers. Make sure all teammates take a turn to introduce themselves, explain their respective roles, and offer suggestions on how they interface with the new employee in his job.
  • Recognize that your organization likely has a multitude of multimedia approaches for communication in different situations. Create a “cheat sheet” of common scenarios to give your new employees a head start:
    • Protocol for out of office messages
    • Appropriate channels for different types of Slack posts
    • Frequency for co-worker video meet-ups and the purpose of each (e.g. is this a project-related call or a virtual happy hour?)
    • General guidelines on how quickly to respond to different inquiries and requests (make sure to allow for time zone differences between co-workers)
    • Location of a schedule of regular working hours for different employees
    • Protocol on whether to use one’s video camera on conference calls (is it preferred or required by various departments?)
    • Acceptable format for email signatures
    • Preferred software applications for different assignments (e.g. MS Word or Google Docs when both are available?)

5 – Implement employee onboarding software for remote hiring success

Depending on the industry in which you work, you likely use a set of software applications critical to the productivity of your business–it’s your tech stack. From CRMs to POS systems, and project management suites to ticketing portals, these varied forms of technology are essential to different industries because they leverage technology to automate and improve repetitive, and perhaps otherwise manual tasks for different employers.

While health clinics may not need POS systems, and safety equipment manufacturers aren’t desperate for software issue ticketing suites, I will advocate that all employers who are currently hiring should consider employee onboarding software.

Moreover, if you are hiring remote employees, onboarding software gives you a significant competitive advantage as you can improve the new hire user experience (aka first impression) as well as minimize documentation errors.

ExactHire’s OnboardCentric employee onboarding software can be implemented either as a stand-alone solution to meet your urgent onboarding needs; or, as a hiring component integrated with our ExactHire applicant tracking system.

As employers face constantly evolving news related to COVID-19, they are adjusting priorities and re-allocating resources on a daily basis. Our team understands the need for fluidity and responsiveness, and we’re equipped to get you up and running with onboarding software quickly.

To expedite implementation and improve your new hire experience despite the current pandemic, we recommend that you start by implementing required new hire forms (e.g. state tax forms, Form W-4, Form I-9, direct deposit, etc.) and allow us to train supervisors who need access right away.

Then, as demands on your schedule decline, our team is happy to work with you to include non-essential nice-to-have new hire forms, discuss onboarding process best practices and conduct more advanced user training with all of your hiring managers. Our responsive team is ready to work as your partner through this crisis.

Demo ExactHire Onboarding Software

Are you ready to improve your employee onboarding experience and respond to the rapidly changing hiring landscape with success? Schedule a demo of OnboardCentric today.