Job Descriptions Are A Branding Opportunity

Do your job descriptions enable candidates to feel your culture?

If they don’t, you are missing out on a distinctive branding opportunity and likely wasting precious time sorting through the wrong cultural fits.

Brand every piece of content you post and use it to instantly draw candidates into your culture. The most popular and impactful posts are the ones that make people feel something; excitement, happiness, hope, etc. Job descriptions are overlooked as content, but that is exactly what they are, and there is no better time to evoke emotion than when trying to entice someone to apply at your company.

Traditionally job descriptions focus on the company’s needs and desires in a qualified candidate. While that makes sense and has been the norm for many years, I’ve found a more effective way. My focus is on the candidate. I want to let them know what we can offer them, through a job posting that immerses them in our culture.

At PROCON & our affiliate companies, we have found increased quality and applicant flow when posting job descriptions that allow the reader to feel like they could already be part of the team. Job postings (see the bottom of this post for an example) are a deliberate part of our employer branding strategy. They are performance-based, explicitly written to elicit a positive response from people who are cultural fits, and each have their own unique “story of why.”

Our greatest success has come from descriptions that awaken the reader’s curiosity by asking questions. Performance-based descriptions describe how a candidate’s previous accomplishments and skills can impact your company. Flip it and ask if a candidate has already attained similar goals.

Are you a Revit Wizard?

Does the idea of building a new team in an established company excite you?

When you ask questions like this, the reader, if they are right for your organization, is saying “yes! They are starting out on a positive note, and they instantly begin to feel like part of your team. I’ve had many people say, “I felt like that job was written for me.” If they read it and say “no,” they won’t apply; that’s less work for you. Job descriptions also introduce your Story of Why, which is the basis of your employer brand.

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Each company has a Story of Why, as does each job description. For example: why would an architect want to work for PROCON in Hooksett, New Hamphsire, as opposed to a fancy Boston firm? Here, they will see 100 percent of their projects built; they will work collaboratively with a fully integrated in-house team of engineers, estimators, construction managers and developers, etc. It’s not for everyone, but to the right candidate, it’s a dream come true.

Branding this description with its own “story of why” allowed us to go from a team of 16 architects and engineers to a team of 52 very quickly with an army of just one and a half recruiters. We even had to put an addition on our building! Two years later, our turnover rate is still at just 3 percent in that team.

Once you put yourself in the candidate’s shoes, writing branded job descriptions will become one of your favorite things to do.

Enable the reader to feel your culture while communicating the expectations of the position.  Be honest about who you are and who you are not, what the job is, and what it is not. What you write should be attractive, and transparent. Like your mother told you, honesty is the best policy.

Writing branded job descriptions is an essential part of any employer brand strategy. If you are not doing this already, start today. It’s another avenue to tell your story, give your audience a glimpse inside your walls, and it will save you time in attracting and retaining the right cultural fits and weeding out the wrong ones.

Annette Carroll is the director of talent acquisition for PROCON & XSS Hotels. She manages talent branding, university relations, and bringing the right people through the door to maintain PROCON’s strong family oriented, entrepreneurial culture. She has been in the staffing industry over 18 years, beginning her career as a technical recruiter, working her way up to New England Branch Manager for a large staffing agency where she later developed the curriculum and trained all recruiters and account executives nationwide. She also owned her own boutique agency and trained several other agencies. Guiding others to find their true calling has always been part of her mission and continues to be her passion.

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4 Comments on “Job Descriptions Are A Branding Opportunity

  1. Love this article – but I think one thing that would help us pivot as an industry would be to make the distinction, collectively, that a job “posting” is different than a job “description” if we want to see true progress in this space – especially given the words we use also impact our SEO, gender parity, etc….

    As much as many of us are handcuffed by our ATS, and then those that are integrated into the HRIS – we’re faced with the job “description” (i.e. an internal legal document) being posted to the career site, which is designed to be our advertisement. If we don’t change the terminology – our legal and comp teams heads are going to continue to explode when we tell them we don’t want things like bullet points of job responsibilities and essential job functions for ADA in our posting. I literally had MONTHS of meetings on this topic during our SAP implementation and FINALLY got our legal counsel to understand when I dated both of us by saying, “look, if this were a 3×3 column ad in the classifieds, I wouldn’t be trying to cram an entire job description in the ad – because it’s NOT A JD. I’ts an ad. Same with our career site.”

    And then legal tried to write a “marketing intro paragraph” about the company for each job and I gave up and ran into traffic. 😉

    1. I agree completely. Job descriptions and job ads are two different things and getting the powers that be to see that is often an uphill battle. It sounds like your doing a great job fighting for what you need.

    2. Thank you Carrie. Your right about Job Descriptions and Job Ads being two different things. That is a good way to get around all of the red tape

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