4 tips for writing effective job descriptions to attract millennials

December 10, 2018

It’s no secret that for many manufacturing companies, finding a fresh infusion of young, promising talent to lead the organization into the future is a top priority. We’ve talked before about what attracts millennials to an organization. However, hurdles like a low unemployment rate mean younger workers have more room to be choosey because there’s more competition for their skills.

When it comes to finding the best talent to join your organization, your first line of defense – your job description – can make or break your ability to get qualified millennial workers through the door. According to Taylor Cotter of Workable, “[Millennials] are attracted to businesses focused on solving problems in society, who develop professionals, and offer the prospect of flexibility, well-being and growth.” And these are all things to consider including in your job descriptions if you’re aiming to attract them!

With this in mind, use these four proven tips to write winning job descriptions.

1. Be clear and specific

Throwing clichés into a job description may be tempting, but this can end up doing more harm than good. As millennials are looking for ways to develop their professional life at each juncture of their career, they are looking for clarity in their job titles and job responsibilities.

Plus, millennials can sense when they’re being pandered to; and buzzwords like team player, manager, fast-paced, self-starter, good communication skills and above and beyond don’t mean much by themselves.

Instead, be clear about what you mean. For instance, when you say manager, how many people should the candidate expect to be managing? When you say fast-paced, what type of workload will the candidate be handling? Being clear can help you find the right candidate quickly – because they’ll know what you’re looking for, and whether or not they’re qualified to carry out these tasks.

2. Speak to your candidates’ aspirations

Growth and development are top factors when it comes to retaining millennials, and they crave a way to visualize their path forward.

Sure, not every job puts candidates on the fast-track to becoming a CEO, but there are opportunities for growth in most positions. So, ask yourself: What specific growth potential does your open position offer?

If possible, give an example of how someone who previously held the open position was able to advance within the company. Tell the story of what the applicant’s life could look like if they are dedicated to working hard. If you don’t, you risk missing out on highly-skilled candidates because they won’t see growth potential, or a path upward. Here are a few examples of job descriptions that cover the aspirational angle, and even add a dash of fun (more on that next).

3. Have fun with it

What kinds of team-building activities does your company offer? Instead of just telling applicants how great your culture is, showcase the fun aspects of your organization from the start. Millennial engagement consultant Gabrielle Bosché recommends that companies get specific about these details in the job description by including examples of what your office does together, where you go to happy hour or how your team recognizes new employees. If you need some fun team-building or outing ideas, here are a few suggestions.

4. Be honest

Honesty is the best policy – especially with your job descriptions. If you’re advertising perks like travel, a benefits package or other policies, make sure you can back them up. Nothing frustrates employees (or sends them running to Glassdoor to post a tell-all review about your company) like unfulfilled promises.

Instead, “setting expectations from the start is key to finding and keeping great talent,” writes Bosché. “Be honest about the amount of time they’ll have to put in or the type of hours they will be working.”

Creating a great job description is a mixture of art and science. Play to candidates’ aspirations and have fun – but don’t forget to orient back to honesty and clarity. Adhere to these tips, and you’ll be able to create more compelling, attractive and effective job descriptions.

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