Opinion: What’s in a name? How to create the perfect job title when hiring

by 04 Jun 2014
Chris McDonald provides his tips for creating online job ads that work.

Today many HR professionals have a significant part to play in recruitment for their company, and some have complete responsibility for this important role. These HR practitioners work hard at crafting job titles and descriptions for vacant roles that they want to fill.
 
The best job descriptions help candidates understand quickly what a certain role requires while also conveying what’s special about your company and the team they’ll be joining. Creating effective recruitment content requires attention to three key areas – title, content, and the wider job searching environment.
 
There’s no set formula for creating top-notch job content, but using experience from talking to HR departments and recruitment agencies right across Australia, here are some practical tips for optimising this job content for how people search for jobs today – in the age of online search.
 
Title
 
The title is the first thing that any potential recruit is going to see. Therefore, it is probably the most important part of all your content. An effective title must get attention of the right target, and clearly communicate your company style.
 
Let’s assume you’re looking to hire a new manager for your customer service department. Are you looking for a professional, polite and thorough candidate? Advertise for “customer service management professional”. Looking for someone more casual and personable? Use a title like “customer relationship pro”. Remember to think like your dream employee and craft a title that you think would get their attention.
 
It’s also important to convey you company ethos and values in a title. Remember, the best candidates are not only those who you want to hire, but those who want to work for you, too.
 
Content
 
This is the bulk of your job ad. The rules I always give to clients is to be concise, be precise and avoid jargon.
 
  1. Make every word count. Walls of text are not attractive, and only encourage people to skip to the next application. Sometimes, removing content is just as important as adding it. Indeed’s research shows that job ads between 700-2,000 characters receive an average of 30% more replies than more lengthy ones. 
 
  1. Be precise. If you are looking for someone with a specialist skill set, make your content reflects that. Google Trends shows that terms such as “UX designer” are more frequently searched than “user experience designer”. Make sure you use language that people in your industry understand. This gets the attention of the right people, and helps them feel that magic “click” when they see your ad. However…
 
  1. Avoid jargon. While being specific is fantastic, avoid titles such as “designer grade III” or “clerk tier 2”as opposed to “graphic designer or “administration team assistant”. This internal or esoteric phrasing alienates those who are coming from another company and want to be a part of your organisation, and creates confusion about what exactly they’re in for. If you’re in doubt about commonly used terms, use Google Trends or Indeed Job Analytics.
 
Wider recruitment environment
 
No business is an island. No matter how specialised your industry, you will always be competing with other organisations for the very best candidates. There is no shame in learning from others. Find out who has been attracting great candidates, and how they recruit. Don’t be afraid to try new things, you should always be testing the best practice for your company, and fine tuning your approach. The dynamic nature of the job market means that you should always be attempting new strategies.
 
As your business turns more towards digital recruitment in this constantly shifting market, remember to follow these three steps if you want to find the very best candidates out there.

About the author
 
Chris McDonald is the country manager for Australia at job website Indeed
 

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