5 Must-Haves in Your Job Description

September 21, 2018

Contributor: Jackie Wiles

More and more new hires regret their decision. HR needs a new approach to recruitment, starting with the job description, that focuses on what candidates themselves value.

Your job description should “hook your reader with details about what makes your company unique,” says one online job site. “With more than 20 million jobs listed … a great job description can help your jobs stand out from the rest.” This might seem a sound strategy in the digital age, but HR must think beyond their appeal to the masses if they want to attract candidates who will thrive as employees.

In fact, HR needs an entirely new approach to recruitment that focuses on what candidates value, and helps them make decisions they’ll be happy with.

“ The percentage of new hires who regret their decision to accept their current position has risen nearly 50% since 2008”

“The best organizations do more than showcase how great they are,” says Emily Rose McRae, senior principal at Gartner. “Instead, they focus on what candidates value, and use that information to get and keep candidates’ attention.” Engaging with candidates in this way is more likely to create satisfied employees and ultimately reduces hiring costs.

Who are you trying to appeal to?

In a world where online job sites advertise millions of jobs and offer extensive inside scoop on employers, companies often focus on standing out from the crowd. HR feels compelled to refine and promote the employment brand and recruiters add more information to the massive amount that already exists in cyberspace. Many companies try to improve the digital application experience. Most actively try to sell the merits of the organization and tout their offer as the one to accept.

But recruiters are, in fact, mostly courting casual candidates when they should be focused on helping sought-after candidates make good decisions they won’t regret.

“The percentage of new hires who regret their decision to accept their current position has risen nearly 50% since 2008,” says McRae.

The wealth of options and opportunity — especially for those with sought-after digital skills — is causing candidates to wonder, “What if something better is just around the corner?”

Add value to your job description

Which brings us back to the job description — potentially the first point of contact with candidates. If you try to make your company and job “stand out from the rest,” you will most likely focus on company values and mission and specific job prerequisites. Instead, you should focus on information that the candidates themselves will find valuable.

The following five pieces of information are provided by only 3% of organizations in their job descriptions today, and yet we found that sharing all five increases the probability that a candidate finds the job desirable by 23%:

  • What type of work the position involves
  • Tenets of the company culture
  • Management style of managers
  • Potential career path for the role
  • What characterizes success in the role

This information provides the candidate with a clear understanding of what will make them successful in the job and offers surety that the management style and culture will work for them. And this knowledge greatly increases the chances the candidate will make an intentional, regret-free decision.

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Recommended resources for Gartner clients*:

This article is based on insights that are part of an in-depth collection of research, tools, templates and advice available to Gartner clients.

Gartner for HR clients can read Decisive Candidate: Redesign Hiring to Drive Candidate Decisions.

*Note that some documents may not be available to all Gartner clients.