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Job Listings Haven’t Gone Off the Deep End – In Fact, They’ve Barely Scratched the Surface

There was a time, not long ago, when marketers were marketers. Now they are mavens. Accountants are wizards. And sales reps are unicorns. According to a recent Atlantic article, it’s a tough job market for anyone who doesn’t identify as a mythical being.

In the article, author Amanda Mull argues that modern job listings have become vague, silly and entirely unhelpful to prospective candidates. In an attempt to articulate their unconventional corporate culture, companies are ditching formal job titles in favor of zany qualifiers they hope will showcase their personality.

But now the ubiquity of terms like “rock star,” “ninja,” and “sensei” has begun to have an adverse effect. Every company is advertising for a “rock star ninja,” which makes them all sound the same, and worse, few can actually articulate what a “rock star ninja” is. Not to mention that the use of such terms may have the unintended consequence of alienating potential candidates, such as older workers or parents, for whom they have little appeal. It seems almost subversive now to simply call your job what it is: i.e., if you’re looking for a marketer, say you need a marketer.

So back to personality. Is there a place for it in a job listing? Yes – but not at the expense of clarity. Above all, your job listing needs to present a clear picture of the role. This is the best way to attract qualified candidates. Fear not: there’s a way to do this without making your reader’s eyes glaze over (or having them hurl ninja stars at your head).

At TMP, we’ve created Advanced Job Descriptions which feature content that actually describes the position and demonstrates why your company is a unique place to work. They do things like give your candidates a snapshot of your culture and the people they’d be working with. After all, having friends at work is important to overall happiness. What else can you do to accurately portray your job opening and entice applicants? Here are a few examples:

Visually represent skills and traits

Banish dense, endless bullet-pointed lists. Present the skills and traits of your perfect candidate in a neat and digestible form. Use icons and simple charts so jobseekers can quickly evaluate their qualifications and overall fit for the role.

Feature employee quotes

One of the best ways to demonstrate your authenticity is to feature testimonials from actual employees. This lets jobseekers put a face to the people they’ll be working with and understand the specific reason each employee has chosen to work at your company.

Highlight benefits and perks

The perks that you offer employees say a lot about your company culture. And again, by highlighting this information, you’re helping jobseekers evaluate their fit, which in turn will help you attract candidates who are a great match on paper and in person. 

Offer influential content

What else can you share about the role that will help inform a jobseeker? If you are hiring a marketer, it makes sense to link to a marketing campaign you are especially proud of, or an award you won for that campaign, or the people who worked on it.

Bottom line: You can want an “Innovation Shark Wrangler,” but the only way you’re going to catch one is if you define what that is in your job listing. What are the qualities of an Innovation Shark Wrangler (ISW), and what prior skills will they need to succeed? What does a day in the life of an Innovation Shark Wrangler look like? And do you offer ISWs comprehensive health benefits? (You better! It’s a high-stress job!) The more pertinent information you can give, the better your results will be.

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