Job Descriptions Suck! This will make them cool.

Jim Stroud is thinking about sourcing, recruiting, social networks and predictive analytics.Recently, I have been hearing a lot of resentment about job descriptions. I’ve heard discontent in a recent client training session. I’ve heard it in the last couple of recruiting presentations I’ve attended. And, the disdain from jobseekers is pretty standard fare. Can you remember the last time you did a search on Monster, Indeed, CareerBuilder, whatever, and was pleasantly surprised to read a job description that captured your imagination? I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen, just that it is extremely rare. Such being the case, I made a personal challenge to myself to decode the job description code. I wanted to figure out the best possible way to create job descriptions that convey all of what HR wants to say but, still manages to capture the attention of the jobseeker.

I must admit that after meditating on this problem, my head started to hurt. However, I soldiered on and came up with a few alternatives that I hope will become a trend. One can hope…

Option One: Succinct and sexy

Have you heard of JobGram? I really like the concept of what they do. Instead of writing a job description for you, they make it into an infographic. How cool is that? At a glance, the jobseeker gets the idea of what HR wants to convey. Plus, since its essentially a pretty picture, it works for passive candidates who have a much shorter attention span than active candidates.

Here is an example of a Job Gram!

I found out quite recently that JobGram is going beyond infographics and making video adverts as well. VERY, very cool. Here is an example of that.

I hope to interview the good people behind this company and share further insights in the near future.

Option Two: Gamify It!

Every year there are blog posts and/or articles about the trends for the coming year and the hottest topics of the previous year. Why not use this data to create job descriptions that are timely, relevant and could quite possibly become viral? Hmm… Just in case I lost you there, let me show you what I mean. I will pretend for a moment that I am on the hunt for some java developers.

Check out this Google search:

Surveying the results, here is an excerpt from one of the most popular 2012 blog posts regarding “java.”

JSF 2, PrimeFaces 3, Spring 3 & Hibernate 4 Integration Project
And finally, the most popular Java Code Geeks post for 2012 is this tutorial combining a number of enterprise Java technologies such as JSF, PrimeFaces, Spring and Hibernate. Honestly, this was a bit of surprise to me, but I think this shows how big is the adoption of these technologies by the Java developers world.

Intellij vs. Eclipse
Another battle, this time the battle of IDEs! All developers have their favorite IDE and this article explores the differences between two of the most popular in the Java world, namely Intellij and Eclipse. On the same note, check out What’s Cool In IntelliJIDEA Part I  and Eclipse Shortcuts for Increased Productivity

Why I will use Java EE instead of Spring in new Enterprise Java Projects in 2012
Another article that generated a lot of heated arguments. The eternal fight between Java EE  and Spring framework. The author lists the advantages of both approaches and explains why he opted for Java EE.

I notice that several of these posts were debating the virtues of one java-related tech verses another. Why not create a landing page where java developers can debate the issues of one technology over the other with the most intriguing comments winning a prize of some sort? The contest could be judged by your CTO and to join in the fray, one must login to the landing page with your LinkedIn account. (Of course, you get where I am going with this?) Recruiters can review the comments made on the page as well as the LinkedIn profile of whomever said it. Recruiters could then have an excuse for following up with the person(s) involved in the discussion; even if they did not win the prize. Make sense?

If you like the idea of this, I have another search you might want to try.

Option Three: Create Your Own Monster (job descripton)!

Young Frankenstein creates the perfect job description
This is my favorite choice of all three. Banish job descriptions entirely! Instead, promote what the company does, its culture and the positives of working at the location. Mention technologies being used and areas where you might need some help. On a “Careers” page, let people pitch to you their “dream job” and give supporting evidence as to why they are qualified to do said occupation at your company. Supportive documentation could include a resume, whitepapers they have written, power point presentations and so on. Get it? This would make closing candidates sooo much easier. After all, with this method, you would be contacting them based on what they said they wanted to do. All things being wonderful, their desires would be inline with what you are looking to hire. How sweet would that be?

Okay, this concludes my rant on the issue. I would like to hear your comments. What do you think?


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4 thoughts on “Job Descriptions Suck! This will make them cool.”

  1. I’ve been a Community (Development) Manager for NationJob for 13 years, and I too HATE job descriptions. More than that, I despise applicant tracking systems that will eliminate a candidate who does not have the right key words in their applications, or resumes. There are job seekers out there that have the education, the experience, and the drive to find great jobs, but because they didn’t use the same words as a recruiter used in their descriptions, they are thrown out of the applicant pool. I work with my customers to help plant a variety of these key words in their job descriptions just so job seekers can find the jobs in a keyword search. I also work with them to ensure that they have the locations listed in the proper format so that automatic scrapes can pick up the jobs. It’s a science, and I am trying to learn more every day. I agree that job descriptions need to be much shorter and to the point and most importantly, interesting. Eye candy, if you will. But the job description also needs to be technical enough to get great SEO, and to work with automatic scrapes and applicant tracking systems. I’m very interested in following what you are doing. I like the way you think!

  2. Great post! The best job descriptions are not written for a job, instead they are written to attract people to a higher calling. The best descriptions are also designed to filter people out and to only attract A players for a very specific role.

    Crafting questions with the following pieces will make a successful ad:

    50% Talent (positivity, empathy, competition, focus, loyalty, integrity, mission etc..)
    30% Culture
    10% Skills
    10% benefits, perks etc..

    The percentages may vary based on the company or the role. Anything below 50% for Talent is not world class.

    And your closing should include:

    And if you answer YES to all of the above questions, please call me at xxxxx or apply here or send me an e-mail at…

    Thanks for surfacing this topic Jim.

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