Across the IT market, a battle for talent is brewing. Having nearly exhausted the available experienced professionals, companies need to change how they hunt to fill technology roles.
This is going to be the toughest year yet for recruiting technical skills. Successful hiring managers will look to hone their recruiting process to adapt to this ultra-competitive landscape.
The first area to improve is the first thing candidates see—the job description.
To craft the right job description the 5 most effective things to focus on:
1. Title is important to attract the right candidate.
Try to refrain from using your own titles that are specific to your organization and not to the market. Avoid the temptation to use weird or fun titles like ‘ninja’ or ‘rockstar’ to make your organization seem cool or trendy. Often these off-center job titles deter candidates from applying and restrict your responses to the postings.
Candidates often search or set notifications based on specific titles, and fail to think of colorful variations. So using the most common title for the job opens your posting up to the widest audience. Also, remember that this candidate market means that you may need to shift to hiring for potential—for instance you may need to upskill a Java expert to supply your Groovy programming needs.
Additionally, women and many minorities tend to understate their abilities, so they would not apply for aggressive titles, but rather operate in their comfort zone where they remain excellent contributors. Stating that you need a Groovy Guru would alienate many high-caliber candidates, making your search that much harder. In fact, avoid using over the top superlatives like “best-of-breed” or “world class” to keep your job posting open to those who were not raised to toot their own horn.
You can have an internal title that resonates with your company, but make sure externally the title resonates with the market.
2. Explain 'Why them' and 'Why you'.
Think of a job description as the first sales pitch for your company. You need to seize this opportunity to sell the opportunity on why someone would be interested in this role. Anticipate that question the candidate is asking—what makes the opportunity unique or compelling over the other 100+ similar roles they are considering?
Use the first paragraph to pitch your company and the role. Explain to your candidates why they would be proud to have this role. Be sure to pitch the value the role contributes to the company, and society.
And don’t forget to speak to them using “You” terminology and inviting language like, “come join us” or “be a part of” to market the role more directly.
3. Bring in attributes and characteristics and not just skills to the job.
Think about the types of soft skills and personality traits that are important to the role. If you need someone highly independent to self-manage while working remotely, say it explicitly. Whether you need your hire to be detailed oriented, or structured and processed, or good communicator, really highlight those as well as highlighting your values of your organization.
Technical skills always hold the potential to upskill and to some degree will always include some on-the-job training. Soft skills and core values will be increasingly the focus for deciding your hire. Be clear on them upfront to help shape the candidate pool. This transparency helps everyone understand not only the skills, but the characteristics that go along with the job.
4. Speak to the salary range as well as full benefits.
Being upfront about salary makes people uncomfortable. Most people fear that they may outprice themselves. Eliminate this fear by doing some research to understand what the market is paying. Look to salary guides published for your local market, like the Elev8 IT Salary Guide for Atlanta. As talent becomes more and more competitive, you can’t afford to underprice the market anyway—regardless if you publish it or not.
Yes, it will weed people out, but that is what you want. Nothing is worse than going through four rounds of interviewing only to find they want $20K more than you can pay.
Also, statistically speaking, jobs description that discuss salary range are more apt to be apt to get responses. Monica Lewis, head of product for LinkedIn Jobs shares, "In our recent study on what candidates want during the job hunt, we found that over 70 percent of professionals want to hear about salary in the first message from a recruiter. With 59 percent of candidates stating that salary was the leading factor that contributed to feeling fulfilled in their career, understanding pay and benefits is clearly top of mind during the job search."
5. Set the KPI’s or expectations on how job performance will be measured.
The #1 most important feature in a job description is sharing how candidates will be measured on their future successes. Also, this serves as your most effective management tool for when they are hired.
If you get this right from the beginning, you will more effectively attract and hire the right candidate. Remember, an effective job description should be used to help you truly narrow in on the specific talent you need.