Over the course of 2017, Milkround surveyed over 5,300 students and recent graduates and over 3,200 school leavers. As part of this research, we asked the respondents how they found interpreting job descriptions.
Making sure you communicate to your potential candidates in an optimal way is key to driving relevant job applications. Job descriptions are of course a fundamental component of any overarching recruitment campaign – big marketing pushes and engagement outreach is futile if candidates are left looking at a less-than-inspiring (or worse, unclear) job description.
37% of our students and recent graduates claimed that reading job descriptions influenced them in their future career choice. In fact, this was more prevalent than other more commonly discussed influences such as what they see on social media or the employers they meet at careers fairs. It’s essential to remember that many students and graduates continually research their options long before applying to roles. In this sense, job descriptions are representative of the company they’re written for – which is why it’s so important to include reference to the company culture in job adverts.
Unfortunately, 71% of our student and graduate respondents confess to being confused by a job description at least once. More specific difficulties cited included 29% of respondents claiming job descriptions were too short to convey a role, 19% saying the language was confusing and 23% stating that there was not sufficient information on how to move forward with an application. Some students (14%) had come across abbreviations they were not familiar with, as well as 15% reading a job description that did not appear to match its accompanying title.
School leavers share similar thoughts when it comes to reading job descriptions. Only 62% feel confident that they fully understand them. The length of job descriptions also caused problems for this group – over half feel adverts are too short and 44% have been unsure of the next steps in the application process.
Taking our respondents’ feedback into account, the following recommendations could be beneficial when writing your next job description:
1 Keep it clear and concise. Job descriptions need to be concise enough that a reader doesn’t lose interest, but detailed enough that a candidate can truly understand what a role involves. Striking the perfect balance is key, so that school leavers or graduates can approach the application process with confidence.
2 Clarify what skills you require and which you desire. Is it crucial that they have presentation skills? Would it be beneficial if they were skilled at Photoshop, but other skills are more important? Inform the candidates of which soft and hard skills are vital for their success in the advertised role, and which will put them ahead of the competition.
3 Be clear about what the role will entail. Let applicants know what their exact responsibilities will be from the start. If you do not inform them what they will be doing, they may be unable to determine whether they are an appropriate candidate for the job.
4 Include a salary range.For many graduates, this is their first full-time permanent job. They are still learning how to navigate conversations regarding salary. Acknowledge the value they will bring to your company by providing a salary range in the job description.
5 Avoid using abbreviations and jargon.Avoid common job advert abbreviations as these can cause unnecessary drops in applications – if you’d like to include them, you can also supply the full term to allow younger candidates to educate themselves before they apply.
All stats in this article are taken from Milkround’s Candidate Compass Reports 2017, which collate information provided to us by school leavers, students and graduates in two annual surveys. To read the reports, go to our blog or contact [email protected] for more information.