How to write job descriptions to attract millennial candidates

Sophia Lee
Sophia Lee
May 17, 2018

You’re committed ‘round the clock to churning out job descriptions in your hunt for fresh young talent. But the search has been fruitless for a while now. Your open positions haven’t been filled, and your candidates and applicants are nowhere to be found. You need to write job descriptions that sell.

Did you know? The quality of your job postings can mean the difference between being flooded with eager applications and being left to a barren desert. You also have to recognise the distinction between being informative and being way too verbose. Millennial candidates are on the hunt for things that straight up snatch their attention. As time goes on, many aspects of life evolve. You should expect the same for hiring and the way you serve up those precious job descriptions.

How to write job descriptions that sell

Here’s the thing: you can’t afford to be boring and stiff any longer.

Your candidates are younger, they’re filled with energy and explosive passion, and they view the world very differently from older generations. They’re here not just to work but to hustle, and it goes without saying that your job descriptions ought to reflect that – accurately, concisely, and uniquely.

The greatest job descriptions get straight to the point and have a strong voice. They tell your millennial candidates about what’s exactly in store for them, right down to the salary range. Don’t waste words, but don’t waste time either – young jobseekers want to know about their role, what your expectations are, who they’re going to interact with daily, and how much they can expect from compensation.

Related: The Singaporean employer’s guide to copywriting for effective job descriptions

The clearer you are in your writing, the easier it is to attract millennial candidates. You’ll be swimming in applications soon, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

Employers, write job descriptions using these tips

When you write job descriptions, there are six main things you should handle with care:

write job description millennials

Job Title

The last thing you want is to provide a job title that creates more questions than it answers. What exactly is this role, and can this job title tell someone that right away?

An example would be the job title of “Operations Executive” – which tells a person nothing about the role they’re looking at, or which department they’ll be put in. Operations? What about it? Something more specific would go along the lines of “Administrative Executive” or “Customer Service Executive” so your candidates know what they’re getting themselves into.

Also note the rank of your position and include words like senior or junior. Let candidates gauge for themselves the amount of experience you’re expecting.

Lastly: buzzwords (think ninja) are cool, but not that cool. They’re not the Holy Grail to perfect job descriptions; not every candidate dreams of becoming a rockstar or a wizard. Here are some eye-catching job titles we think will help:

Job Responsibilities and Function

Here’s where you get down and dirty with the details. Ideally, write down up to 15 job functions and duties that you think will give your candidate a broad understanding of this role. Try not to go beyond this number – you’re writing job descriptions, after all, and not job dissertations.

Keep these important tips in mind when writing job descriptions:

  • Use powerful and concise writing
  • Keep it real – don’t oversell or create false expectations
  • Bullet points are your friends
  • Drive your job descriptions with lots of action verbs

(See? Wasn’t this super readable?)

Work Relationships

Job descriptions shouldn’t only discuss what responsibilities are in store. Give your candidates some insight into the hierarchy at work and let them know who they’ll be reporting to on a daily basis. Instead of going in blind, they’ll come for their first day much more prepared.

It’s also good to give them a little more insight into how your company is structured and how the hierarchy works. You wouldn’t want your candidate to be drifting about the office without a leader to follow. Give the sheep their shepherd, and assimilating will be so much smoother.

Expected Qualifications

Be as specific as possible here: do your candidates need a degree or a minimum number of years of experience to qualify for this role? Once you’re clear on your expectations on what qualifies a candidate, jobseekers will naturally take themselves out of the equation. This makes your job so much easier instead of having to filter through mountains of applications and CVs.

It’s important to still be open-minded when it comes to candidates who are pulling mid-career switches. It might look strange that a person with a creative background is sending in an application for a technical or IT position, but chances are they might be exploring a new route altogether.

Salary Range

Providing a salary range in your job descriptions is useful so that candidates don’t have to come for the interview loaded with awkward questions about compensation and salary. It’s great to provide this information first-hand through your job descriptions and allow candidates with higher compensation expectations from applying at all. If you’ve already established a salary range, they’ll know right away that this might not be the job for them and then be on their merry way.

Salary ranges are also awesome if you’re not too strict on the experience level and educational requirements of your candidates. The lower end of the range would go for candidates you really like who lack the years of experience. You can scale things up from there accordingly.

Unique Company Perks and Benefits

Here’s where you get to shine – really! If there’s anything you think your company should be known for, go ahead and entice your hungry candidates. This is also a great time to let them sneak a peek at your company culture and way of life. Being clear on the benefits will also give candidates a clearer picture on how this job is going to affect their life and not just their wallets.

Some perks and bonus pointers you can include in your job descriptions:

  • A staff gym and swimming pool (for the fitness-obsessed) 
  • Foosball table in the pantry 
  • Community volunteer programmes for staff 
  • Free lunch on Tuesdays 

Job description samples – the good and the bad

Before you get back to working on your own job descriptions, here are some sample JDs we’ve picked out ranging from good to just plain bad, for various reasons.

The good: BandLab, iOS Developer

Why it works:

✅ Clear, enticing, and useful information

✅ Concise and effective writing

✅ Each section is well-defined (with bullet points)

✅ Lots of action verbs: collaborate, improve

The bad: Craigslist, Team Players

Why it falls flat:

❌ Extremely vague job title

❌ No description of job roles and function

❌ Absence of company information

❌ It’s way too short

In this day and age, we no longer have the time for uncertainty or even the wasting of time itself. When crafting your job descriptions, know that descriptions that are concise and informative will easily be set apart from the rest. Even better if your job descriptions have a unique brand voice, too! Millennial candidates will be more likely to send in their applications if you don’t set up false expectations, be upfront with what they’re going to get out of it and what their role is going to be like.

It’s time to energise your hiring efforts through refining job descriptions. Give it a try and see if it’ll get you a greater influx of candidates. Happy hiring!

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