In today’s economy, businesses are not only having a hard time retaining employees amid The Great Resignation, but they are also facing challenges with employee recruitment. Data from a recent National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Jobs Report shows that 91% of small businesses are struggling to find qualified candidates for open positions.

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With tens of thousands of job postings on LinkedIn currently, too many of them lack the enthusiasm necessary to attract talent. It’s time companies revise their ads so that they engage, rather than turn off, prospective employees. Here are six common mistakes that companies are making when writing job descriptions: 

A job ad should not be written as a job description but rather an advertisement that speaks directly to the heart and mind of the demo you’re interested in hiring. Too often ads read like a shareholder’s report, having no “sell” in them. To attract the best candidates and appeal to far more job seekers, rewrite the job description to convey your company in the best light and inspire a sense of purposefulness

Zanzibar Vermiglio is an author, corporate trainer, and the founder of Zanzibar Enterprises.

Speak first about what makes your company special in the market. Marketing your small business to stand out from the rest can be difficult, particularly if you are in an industry where your competitors offer similar positions. To draw more people to your applications, share upfront why your value proposition in the marketplace outperforms other companies. People want to work for good companies. 

Explain what makes your company culture magnetic and enjoyable. Culture is a crucial determinant for quality candidates deciding where to take their talents. For that reason, small businesses should paint a picture of their culture in terms that elicit enthusiasm. For example, “We have a culture where everybody’s got each other’s back. We love to go the extra mile in our work, but we laugh a lot. And we are always looking out for people’s careers, even if it means moving them on to another company.” 

Discuss the upward mobility you see for the person you are going to hire for this role. An estimated 94 percent of employees would join and stay with a company longer if it invested in their careers. If upward mobility is viable for a candidate, be sure to mention it upfront. Doing so will set your company apart from competitors and the candidate will likely appreciate your commitment to transparency.

Be brief! Stuffing unnecessary paragraphs of information into job descriptions makes it difficult to capture the attention of potential applicants. Instead, scale back the prose by communicating clearly and concisely. Include information about the company and the job but cut out anything superfluous.

When including job requirements, make sure that the few bullet points listed are enticing and relevant. Poorly written job ads often read like wish lists rather than actual requirements. By posting a laundry list of skills that a candidate “needs,” companies end up missing out on amazing talent. Instead, list only the requirements of the role and add “nice to have” qualifications to that list.

Although the direction of the job market is not within the control of small businesses, there are several ways to increase their bargaining position for the best employees. The above tips will help companies write more enticing job ads that make potential applicants raise an eyebrow and think to themselves, “Hey, I want to work for that company!”


Author: Zanzibar Vermiglio is the founder of Zanzibar Enterprises and an executive business coach who has helped double the size of more than 100 companies across the nation and works with more than 20 business leaders in the Scottsdale area. The three aspects of business he focuses on are value proposition design and execution, operation scalability (including management architectures) and sales planning.