Posted on / Updated on / in Recruiting /

Job posting vs. Job description – is there a difference?

When I initially dipped my toes into professional recruiting services, one of the very first things that I noticed was how all of the job postings that I saw seemed to be so similar. Go to any of the major job boards – Indeed, LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter – and you’ll see the same format over and over:

COMPANY INFO – This company is a leader in (industry or product). We are a fast-paced, high growth organization and looking for a (insert desired trait) person to join the team.

DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES – 
Generic responsibility #1
Generic responsibility #2
One or two things specific to this role, but otherwise Generic responsibility #s 3, 4, and so on…

REQUIREMENTS – Education, experience, or a combo. Then, often some things that were already mentioned in the above “Duties & Responsibilities,” section.

 

Or some variation of this, just about every time. How boring is that? I had actually noticed this theme in my previous job searches, but it never really hit home until I was immersed in the professional recruiting world.

At first, I went along with it. Especially since my first employer as a recruiter mandated a certain format for every new posting. But my natural inclination to look for a better way got the best of me and I began to do a little research. What I found was, as is often the case, that just using some common sense tends to be a better approach to sourcing candidates who are actively looking for a new job.

Think about it; the last time you were searching for a new job it was tiring, right? How many times have you heard the phrase “Looking for a new job is a full-time job”? Part of this strain could be due to the fact that you spend hours upon hours reading through what are essentially job descriptions, and it just gets boring. They all begin to blend together and every company’s value proposition seems to sound the same. 

It’s a Job Advertisement – not a job description!

The easiest way for my mind to understand how to best present a new job opening is by understanding that this is a job advertisement, not a job description. This is not a legal document that we are placing on the job boards, so a lot of the “fluff” that is included simply does not need to be there. Instead, you need to approach this as if you were placing an ad for your company to draw in more business. Rather than stating every single job function that the role encompasses, try presenting it in a way that will speak to a candidate’s desires in a role and what may allow them to actually picture themselves working for your company.

For example, here are two ways to present the same basic information. You tell me which one sounds more appealing:

“Acme Corporation seeks a highly motivated self-starter with great organizational and interpersonal skills who embraces challenges. Graduate-level degree preferred, but will consider candidates with a college degree.”

– or –

“Our company believes that if you apply yourself through hard work and collaboration, then you can achieve greatness. These are values that we live every single day. Do you have what it takes to be a part of a winning organization like Acme Corporation? If you have a Graduate degree and take pride in your personal and professional accomplishments, then let’s talk!”

Granted, you can’t really take this approach for an Executive level type of position, but remember that this is a job ADVERTISEMENT, so you need to advertise to your audience.

Think of who you want to bring in the door and then speak to them whenever possible. They can get the boring job description once they sign-on!

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about the author: Mark Hardy

I'm passionate about helping others, which is why I love what I do. Every day I have the opportunity to help really talented people find roles that benefit them professionally and personally. I also get to help clients hit their goals and grow by landing top talent and leading the market in their industry.

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