How to improve your job posts to ensure they serve as marketing for your company
“Someone once described job descriptions to me as the ingredient list on the back of a potato chip bag (i.e. sodium phosphate, maltodextrin, emulsifiers) when really we should be using words from the ads that sell the potato chips,” mused Rachel Book, Director, Diversity Recruiting Strategies at Fidelity. This insight has created a core philosophy for Rachel, one that drives Fidelity’s hiring: In order to hire the right person for the role, you need to use the language that will attract them to your company and accurately reflects the role’s success criteria.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, especially when it comes to hiring managers. At Fidelity, like at most firms, hiring managers are juggling their full-time job with the part-time jobs of other roles they want to fill on their team. While hiring is a key priority for them, “writers block is real and hiring managers experience it all the time,” said Book. She notes, “Giving recruiters or managers the option of writing job descriptions from scratch with Textio Flow in the Textio platform vs. using the platform for editing is revolutionary.”
“Starting from scratch empowers managers to challenge their assumptions and resist the urge to recycle an outdated job description,” asserts Book. This change in behavior is key to making sure Fidelity’s job posts are inclusive and uses the language that will attract a candidate today (not words that attracted people two months ago, or worse, two years ago). “So often, we fall back into habits of, ‘this is the profile we’ve always recruited for.’ But we forget that the role that we’re hiring for today may require a different mix of skills and experience based on the composition of the team and what’s going on in the business at this moment in time.”
To prevent this, Rachel’s team developed an exercise that helps managers validate the eligibility requirements for each role before they advertise the job. Before a hiring manager posts a job, we encourage them to identify 3–5 associates in the role and ask them the following questions of the existing job post:
- Does this job describe your day-to-day work?
- Are any listed requirements irrelevant or not needed?
- Are there any requirements not listed that should be?
- What is unique about how the team operates and collaborates?
Based on this feedback, the manager reviews the job description and makes changes, differentiating between nice-to-have and must-have requirements and removing any that are irrelevant.
By focusing more on writing job posts from scratch, with a focus on the must-haves for the role (rather than the nice to have), Rachel’s team of recruiters has seen incredible results:
- The team realized that a technology specific major wasn’t really necessary for a particular set of roles
- The company removed the requirement to have previous experience in financial services, because they realized they can train people easily for that skill
- Once the true requirements were known, one role completely shifted from looking for an Analyst to looking for a Project Manager
“When we advertise a job that is realistic and validated, we attract a broader and more diverse audience and reduce the risk of deterring qualified candidates from applying. Together with the magic of Textio, we can fill our jobs faster and select from a more diverse mix of qualified candidates,” mentioned Book.
This change in focus from requirements to persuasive language that attracts candidates, has been invigorating for Fidelity. Book added, “our hiring managers, recruiters and HR partners are amazed by the power of Textio to make our jobs more compelling to more people.”
Learn more about how language impacts your hiring at textio.com
Why Fidelity treats their job ads as true advertisements was originally published in Textio Word Nerd on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.