This is part of my long-running mission to educate anyone who wants to listen, on the difference between a job advert and a job description and why it’s super important to know.
In short – or if you don’t have time to read on …
There is no joy in a job description - and it's joy that sells your role!
A job advert is the pivotal moment to inspire and evoke emotion and your message is absorbed and internalised, so you have to create the "Coke" feeling for that person who's unhappy in their job.
Why would anyone “buy” your role if it reads like a long, tedious to-do list. You definitely wouldn’t buy a BigMac or a can of Coke if you were only presented with the list of ingredients… You just wouldn’t!
A job ad should be full of emotional drivers that make people connect and feel something that inspires them to act. If done well, this has far reaching impacts way beyond the recruitment of your next developer.
How many eyeballs do you think go over your job ads? A thousand?...
Two thousand?... Ten thousand?
Your job ad reading audience is not just your potential employees, but also your customers, your suppliers, your competitors, your family, your friends and all of your colleagues! And as for your potential employees, if there’s no feeling and no emotion how will you ever attract the right people?
Just one word in a job advert can make or break applicant quality, and attracting the wrong kind of person into a role can have a lasting impact to the cultural flywheel in a business or team.
Ok, stop here for a second – Google your job title and read a some of the job ads or posting and ask yourself … how does it make ME feel? Like ..., really feel about the company, the people, the culture and the business?
Is it “whatever”, “yady-ya”, “yawn”,
“OMG what a boring and soul-sapping place to spend my life”??
“cool!” “wow!” “exciting!” “novel!” “I want that!” “I can do that!”
“this sounds like me!” “these are my people!” “this is my future!”
Would you feel proud to work there? Does it reflect the passion you have for your job? If not, then it’s not a job ad!
If you ask most folks in a company about their job, their company and their colleagues, you’ll get chapter and verse about what the company does, why customers love them, how successful they are and how amazing the people are. For some reason when people post a job, they slip into non-human speak devoid of anything to excite, inspire or instil a feeling for what the “whole” job is. instead they post a never-ending list of functional requirements.
So, job ads and job descriptions are two different things - but you need both, because they do very different things.
A job advertisement - should “sell” the joy of a role, why someone should apply, how they will feel doing the role and what they can achieve. It should speak to how they are motivated in terms of job satisfaction and should speak to the skills the knowledge AND the values you want to draw in!
A job description - “Tells” an applicant the scope of a job’s activities and the kind of skills needed in order to do it - a skills match-list if you like.
Take a look at this article on Joy marketing from Hubspot and then you’ll see what I mean. #ILoveHubspot always such great content.
You don’t need to be a creative genius or try and make your own John Lewis Christmas Advert. But time spent here will impact your business in more ways than you can imagine. Once you have a template and shifted your thinking into finding the Joy of every role, it becomes much easier.
For me, writing a job ad is a creative writing process that has me reaching deep into the psyche of the human being I’m trying to attract - I put myself in the mind of the person doing that role, and pepper descriptive content and words that will draw in the “right” person to apply.
And when it comes to interview time, one of the first questions I am able to ask is “what did you see or read in the job ad that caused you to apply?”. This one question provides a super deep level of understanding of the emotional connection to the role and the company, and that’s a great place to start.
Peopley provide flexible Human Resources and Talent Management support for SMEs delivering people-centric services
Peopley has recently been shortlisted for Best Candidate Experience & Best Supplier Partnership against stiff competition from some of the UK’s biggest employers in the 2020 FIRM Awards (Forum for In-House Recruitment Managers).
About The Author
Debby built the recruitment tools for the world’s largest executive search franchise and has trained over 1,000 recruiters worldwide.
She was one of the first recruiters to adopt candidate sourcing techniques using social media in an 1100 global office network and has built the hiring operations for multiple founder-led technology & engineering businesses.
Debby is a Chartered member of the CIPD, sits on the Solent LEP Skills Advisory Panel and is an official ambassador for Ocean Alliance.
Her interests lie at the intersection of technology, people and the environment and is a keen yachtswoman.