Job Descriptions & Job Postings – Yes, Virginia, There Is A Difference

Put yourself in the shoes of a job seeker who is looking for the “right fit” role and ask yourself: Would I like to know all the nitty-gritty details around what will I be doing in a role and how will I be doing it or would I much rather know what I will be responsible for delivering, why and for/to whom?

We know … that is a loaded question but, all too often, in our rush to initiate our recruit to fill an open position, we simply abstract information from our job description (or worse yet, use the entire job description!) to advertise our opening. And while quite efficient in getting the word out in the employment marketplace, it’s more than likely not the message that will attract the type of quantity and quality of applicants your company needs.

While we tend to use the terms “Job Description” and “Job Posting” interchangeably to refer to our job ads (and that is OK), it is not OK to use the two documents interchangeably. Given the current volatile employment market, we thought it may be useful to take a moment to reflect on some of the differences between the two documents.

Purpose Guiding and managing human capital practices & maintaining compliance; it describes/explains the job Marketing available job opportunities; it sells the job
Target Audience Internal – Employees External – Job Candidates
Job Title Aligned with internal HR practices & organizational structure Aligned with industry / sector practices and ranks high in search results
Focus The job The job, the team, the company, the values, the benefits, the employment conditions
Job Information List of detailed tasks & responsibilities Key areas of impact and deliverables
Person Specifications Exhaustive list of minimum and preferred education, experience, knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics and competencies Key success factors that enable the right candidate to perform the role effectively; focus mostly on “must haves”
Tone Sterile, formal Personal and engaging
Length Long! Shorter is better!

With those distinctions in mind, start with your job description, have an in-depth conversation with your hiring manager about their expectations for the open role and ideal candidate profile and use this information to craft an interesting, informative, and engaging job post that is search engine optimized. By resisting the urge to lean on the readily available yet dull, lengthy, and quite unappealing to job seekers job description you increase your odds of attracting the best applicants to your company.

If you need assistance with your job descriptions or job posts or insights on how to set yourself up for success in attracting the right applicants for your next vacant role, reach out to connect with one of our expert staff.