Catching a Unicorn: Write a Job Description to Get the Best Tech Talent

Our entire role at VerTalents (formerly VS-Staffing) is to provide intelligent, thoughtful IT and cybersecurity staffing solutions. But our job becomes challenging when we are trying to decipher corporate job listings. We publish lots of job listings to serve our clients. Still, one thing that most of them have in common is that job descriptions, without fail, are either dry, didactic corporate documents or simply fail to convey how the position serves the company.

Most job descriptions don’t accurately represent the actual job. They are crammed with corporate jargon and don’t describe how or why a job is done. Most of these descriptions are crafted by the HR department or the legal team using outdated documents about what the job entails. This isn’t the HR department’s fault–they aren’t writers and generally aren’t working in the trenches with the rest of the team. They have no idea what the daily grind is all about.

In the article below, we’ll give you some actionable tips on how to write superlative technical job descriptions to attract the best candidates. How?  Be honest, but most of all, be concise.

Talk About the Company, Not Just the Role

Give a high-level overview of what you do and why it matters. Don’t make people visit your website just to understand what they’ll represent. No one will read the entire description first–so, introduce the company. What it is, what you do, what makes you unique.

Therefore, when writing about your company to potential new hires, talk about what makes you stand out. Do you have a pet-friendly workplace? Do you have monthly cookouts where employees can bring their families? Do you offer free in-house daycare? Put all of that in the job description. These selling points could be the difference between getting the right candidate or just getting a warm body to fill a seat.

Clearly Define the Role and Its Purpose

While it’s helpful for candidates to understand WHAT they might be doing, they also want to know the WHY. Too many job descriptions simply write out a wish list of all the tasks and responsibilities that the “ideal” candidate should be expected to complete. Some of these lists are so lengthy that the job sounds impossible. And the majority of the job descriptions omit why the role is essential.

This means that you should highlight the impact of the role and the people the employee will help or serve. The purpose of a job—the raison d’etre–is often missing or absent, and according to recent studies, most millennials and Gen Z candidates want to feel a sense of meaning in their work.

Millennials have stated that they want a job with a sense of purpose. Salary and benefits, while important, are secondary to most candidates in this age range. They prefer working for businesses focused on solving societal issues that foster professional growth, offer flexibility, and a strong work-life balance. Corporate stewardship and responsibility are more than buzzwords for millennials and Gen Z.

It’s a basic human need. We all want to feel like we matter, yet most role profiles don’t promote this.

Provide Salary and Benefits Information

If you’re not providing salary and benefits information, you might as well not post at all. “Competitive compensation package” means nothing. Do provide a salary range for the position. No one says you must give an exact figure, but a range is helpful.

It’s a win-win.

First, full compensation transparency is an easy filter. Neither your enterprise nor potential candidates will waste time. If they don’t want that salary range, they simply won’t apply, and your HR Department won’t have to sort through candidate resumes for people who might reject the job due to salary requirements.

In addition, the pay range will give you an advantage compared to other companies that are stingy with that information. Most candidates simply skip over a role profile if the salary range isn’t listed.

Check (and Double-Check) Your Listing

Before going live with your job description, ensure the text is correct, concise, and comprehensible. And please stop trying to sound hip by using tired cliches like “guru” or “rockstar.” Millennials will see right through that and probably won’t take you seriously.

Allow Them to Meet the Team

If you’re going after young talent, be sure to advertise the skills of your tech team. For first-time candidates, the opportunity to work with experienced software engineers or developers can make their careers and help shape them. Plus, if they can find a mentor who nurtures their natural abilities, they will become advocates for your brand and are more likely to remain loyal.

Have a candidate talk with team members and allow them to ask questions. Focus on teamwork and your team’s culture of collaboration. It’s not a bad idea to show a prospect the company’s GitHub account so that they can see how your development team contributes to your core products.

Quick, Efficient Application Process

Let’s face it—job searches are tedious, but they don’t have to be. The process should be efficient and engaging. In addition, give prospects all the information they need along the way. If it’s a ten-step process that requires a skills assessment and five interviews, let them know that at the outset.

For example, don’t have them upload their resume, then expect them to regurgitate the same information onto an online application form. Set up interviews as quickly as possible, and if the news is bad, break it to them immediately. That way, they don’t hold out hope for your position and can keep looking.

You are trying to sell your company to the candidate. Therefore, your job description needs to stand out and give an accurate picture of who you are and what you need. Use these guidelines to engage and find tech talent that will be the right fit for your company.