Posts

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 Much Does Onboarding Software Cost?

Companies may be breathing a collective sigh of relief now that the vaccines have arrived. The end of the pandemic is in sight. Economic recovery can begin.

Not so fast.

Have you thought about what the pandemic’s end means for your employees? A new survey says one in four of them will be quitting your company. Eagle Hill Consulting released a survey that indicates 25 percent of employees are planning to leave their jobs once the pandemic is over. The number climbs to 33 percent for Millennials and parents with children who are remote learning.

People will be leaving their jobs for a variety of reasons. But their departures will mean one thing for your company: rising employee turnover. Low employee retention can cost your organization thousands. As you prepare for future recruiting, you can also incorporate strategies to reduce employee turnover.

Effective onboarding increases employee retention by 82 percent.

You can prepare now for the new hires in your future. And by doing so, you can improve what may be the most important ingredient for creating high employee retention: your onboarding process. Effective onboarding increases employee retention by 82 percent. Onboarding software can further reduce your costs while improving your new employees’ experience.

Estimating the Price of Employee Onboarding Software

Before you can know the true cost of anything, you have to know the price you’re paying for not having it. You can’t calculate the ROI of best employee onboarding software until you know what your current onboarding process is costing you.

First, there’s the hours spent onboarding new hires. Someone in your organization is printing off those new hire forms and putting together the new employee packets. Your new hire is spending time completing the forms and handwriting the same information multiple times. Then the documents make their way to someone who inputs the information into a variety of software, databases, and spreadsheets.

Then there’s the not-so-straightforward hours spent onboarding employees. Someone is charged with chasing down forms when they’re not completed on time. That same person searches for forms that long-term employees completed on their first day. Has a sales person ever left your company for a competitor and there was nothing you could do about it because the non-compete form he signed a decade ago was MIA?

Next, consider the obscure number of hours spent training the new employee. These numbers are difficult to estimate if you’re not using employee onboarding software. Chances are, employees are stepping in to help when they can. Without onboarding software to outline a training plan, your new hire’s introduction to your company is an ad hoc assortment of good intentions and tedious forms.

Now you’re probably wondering, what does employee onboarding software do to improve the onboarding process? Software will streamline your onboarding process, saving both time and money. You’ll improve your new hire’s experience, increasing employee retention. Over time, you’ll collect data which can be used to further improve your onboarding process. You’ll find the cost savings and benefits make onboarding software essential to an effective and affordable employee onboarding process.

Factors that Affect the Price of Software

The price you pay for your new software will depend, in part, on how many employees you typically hire per year. As you consider what features you need from your employee onboarding software, also consider the current cost to onboard new hires at your organization.

New Hire Onboarding Packet: Your employee onboarding forms can be digitized for efficiency and to reduce errors. The information entered into electronic I-9 and W-4 forms can seamlessly integrate with your payroll software. Onboarding software also includes E-Verify integration, and electronic signatures are legally binding.

Company Policy Manual: Are you sure your new employees actually read your workplace and sexual harassment policies? You can integrate all of your new hire’s training into the onboarding software with training modules. These modules will educate your new hire on your company policies and ensure they have the necessary knowledge with short quizzes.

Assign Tasks with Email Reminders: With software, you can create a customized workflow for the onboarding process with tasks. You can assign each task to a stakeholder. This person will then receive email reminders to mark the task as complete within the software. Everyone will know their roles. You’ll always know where the onboarding process stands.

These are just some of the affordable onboarding software features to consider when you calculate the ROI of onboarding software. Onboarding software will also assist with various federal compliance tasks, such as reporting and security measures that keep information confidential.

Choosing the Right Onboarding Software for Small Businesses

When you decide to buy employee onboarding software, you may find companies that sell onboarding solutions cater to large organizations. Not only are these providers more expensive, they may not offer the level of HR support as a provider catering to small and mid-sized businesses.

Look for a provider that offers customer support for onboarding software tailored to SMB. A support team that is SHRM-certified will give you the detailed HR support small and mid-sized businesses need. And a realistic timeline expectation–or even a guarantee–for software implementation, along with a money-back guarantee, mean less risk for SMBs.

When considering how to choose employee onboarding software, look for E-Verify integration and comprehensive support features. In addition to HR-related support, you’ll want in-house technical support staff. And of course, software that is cloud-based means you won’t need to invest in IT infrastructure.

Get a Price Estimate for Employee Onboarding Software

Before you get a price estimate for employee onboarding software, make sure you find a provider that can handle your unique employee onboarding process needs. As an SMB, you’ll need unlimited onboarding software customer support at no extra cost. Many so-called top HR software vendors target large corporations and may not provide unlimited, personalized support.

Also consider how your employee onboarding software will integrate with your other HR systems. “Best of breed” onboarding software can readily accommodate payroll and other HR software systems. By creating a seamless digital onboarding experience, you save time, reduce errors and improve your employees’ experience.

Regardless of your timeline for HR software implementation, make sure your provider won’t tack on additional hidden charges. Look for a pricing structure that is straightforward, where you won’t need to pay extra for support or implementation. And finally, ask if you can try onboarding software risk-free for a couple months.  With guaranteed support, a risk free trial period, and a solid set of onboarding features, you’ll be ready to decide whether the cost of employee onboarding software is worth it.

Photo by Raj Rana on Unsplash

How Do I Write An Employee Application?

The digital age has transformed recruiting. From a branded careers site where applicants can search and apply for jobs to quick-as-a-click reporting that lets you see what works and what doesn’t, data-driven recruiting beats the old paper-pushing days of yore. But don’t toss your job application form in the recycling box just yet.

Far from being obsolete, the reliable questionnaire is still a heavy hitter in your recruitment toolbox. But if job seekers still need a pen to apply to your company, it’s time to write your employee application form for the Web.

The Basic Job Application Form

A simple job application form performs a straightforward role in your hiring process: gather enough relevant information to determine if the applicant should move forward in the next step of the recruitment process. A Web-based application form achieves this crucial task far more efficiently than a paper application as well as a number of other functions.

An online employment application form will transfer candidate information into an applicant tracking system (ATS). Capturing data through the application means your hiring team will spend less time typing and later correcting errors. It also means you can find and sort candidates easily using a search box. Later, you can file your EEOC reporting with just a few clicks rather than thumbing through file folders and creating a lengthy Excel spreadsheet.

An online employee application form is also more convenient for your applicants. When they find your job ad online, they can click over to your careers website and immediately fill out an application. You’ll benefit from a larger talent pool when your application process is user-friendly.

An applicant tracking system will allow you to create an online application form that can be customized for unique positions throughout your company. You’ll be able to ask applicants questions that are specific to their desired role or the location where they’ll work. If you simply make a PDF job application form from your current paper version, you won’t be able to tailor your questions to the applicant or sort through the resulting data.

 

Mobile Recruiting Guide

An Effective Job Application Form

A web-based employee application form is more effective than a paper, or even a downloadable PDF, version. Pairing your online job application form with an applicant tracking system will help you search through numerous applications to find the best candidate more quickly. But how can you write an employee application form in a way that encourages the best job seekers to complete it?

Consider the candidate experience during the application process. A slow or frustrating recruiting process can be a turn off for quality applicants who understand their worth. Take your application for a test run to experience your recruiting process from the candidate’s perspective.

A short, simple application form is almost always preferable to a long series of questions. Aim for an application that takes about 15 minutes to complete and has fewer than 20 questions. If you find that you need more information to narrow your choices, invite qualified candidates to complete a second, short employee application form.

Every iteration of your employment application template should be reviewed for potential legal issues. Not only will new legislation affect the legality of your employee application form, but so will recent case law. For instance, questions about education aren’t illegal, but a recent discrimination case may have been successful if the application unintentionally excluded a protected group.

Job Application Formatting Tips

Candidates are more likely to complete your questionnaire when you stick to a simple job application form format. The web page should tell the applicant at the beginning how long the application process will take. Use check boxes and drop down menus for questions with yes/no or predictable answers. If your employee application form has more than one page, include a page counter that lets the candidate know how many pages are left.

A job application formatted for mobile use will simplify the process for most of your candidates. Hourly workers, especially, are more likely to rely on their smartphones. But, professions with the lowest mobile job search rates—math and computer jobs—still see nearly half of candidates using smartphones to find their next job. Creating a simple job application form in a mobile-friendly format will increase the number of applications you receive from these candidates.

Creating even a simple job application form formatted for mobile use is a daunting task for IT departments in many small to medium-sized businesses. Fortunately, the best applicant tracking systems can take care of the numerous coding and capability issues that arise when creating an application for both Android and iOS. Applicant tracking software can offer a mobile-friendly employee application form that works with the most popular job boards and social media sites.

Drawbacks of Employment Application Form PDF

Quality candidates will skip your job application form if they need a pen to fill it out. Even if your employment application form is online, candidates will drop off if it’s too long or not mobile-friendly. But when you create an online employment application that’s easy to complete while still capturing the important information you need, you’ll benefit from an improved application to hire ratio.

Perhaps you thought a mobile-friendly, online employment application was out of reach for your business. In fact, an ATS that caters to your company’s unique needs will create your online employment application and give you the tools you need to mine the data for your best candidates. With your application form online, your business will be able to compete for the best talent.

If you’re thinking about ditching the pens and setting up an online employee application form, give us a call. We’d be happy to answer your questions and help you figure out if an online job application is right for you.

Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

Making Your First Hire – Don’t Be Nervous

So you are a small business and ready to grow – maybe you are currently the only employee or you have a few partners in your company.  Or maybe you are building a HR department from scratch. Either way, making your very first hire can be daunting, here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure this first hire (and future hires) are a success.

Find the right fit

At ExactHire, we are firm believers in finding a person who is the right fit for the job, as well as for the company culture. Upon reviewing resumes and narrowing down your choices to a select few candidates, make sure to ask yourself, how will this person fit in the company? How will he/she adapt to the job at hand? This is key especially at small companies where employees “wear many different hats” each day on the job. Employee assessments can be a great tool to find out if the applicants are likely going to fit in with your organization, too.

Follow your gut

Do not downplay the need to trust your intuition. If you are part of a growing company, you need to feel comfortable with each hire and adapting that person into his/her role on the team. If your gut is telling you that it might not be the best choice for the position, then make sure to listen to that instinct. It can be expensive to have to rehire after the fact and start training over if you make a wrong hiring decision. Remember, no one is perfect either, at some point in your HR career you will probably make a hiring “error” but following your gut will help avoid a lot of this trouble.

Test applicants accordingly

Along with testing applicants for culture fit by using assessments, you can use job skill tests to make sure their technical experience is right for the job responsibilities at hand.  This can be software-based testing such as Microsoft Office or Quickbooks; or, it can be skill-based such as basic math, spelling, data entry or telephone skills. It can also be job-specific, such as an IT programming language, accounting, legal, industrial or medical knowledge. Using a skill test will help narrow down your choices after you have found a good fit for the company culture.

Know HR regulations and laws

If this is truly your first hire, make sure you are aware of regulations and laws in your state.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can help with lots of topics on which you may have questions. Making sure not to discriminate in the hiring process as well as completing any reporting that is necessary, are important practices to keep your business compliant. This pertains to job advertisements, recruiting, application questions, pay rates, referrals and much more.

I know this may all seem overwhelming to think about, but in the long run it’s exciting! You are part of a growing organization – don’t make the hiring process a nerve wrecking one (for you or the applicant). Have fun and follow these simple rules to get the most out of it all.

For more information about assessments and skill tests, please contact ExactHire today.

Image credit: number one by frankieleon (contact)