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Optimizing the Length of Your Job Descriptions

Optimizing the Length of Your Job Descriptions

All else being equal, an effective job description is probably the most important thing in attracting candidates to apply to your job. Apart from listing compensation and benefits in your job description, we found that the length of your job description is also a contributing factor in how many applications your job receives.

 

Job description length
Job Description Length vs. Number of Applications

Job description length vs. Number of applications a job receives

 

In the graph above, we can see a negative correlation between job description length and the number of applications a job receives. In other words, the number of applications a job receives tends to decrease as the length of its job description increases.

Why is that? We think it’s because a shorter, more to-the-point job description is more likely to capture a candidate’s attention than a longer, rambling job description. Here’s how you can make your job descriptions more impactful.

 

Only include the essentials

A job description is meant to serve two purposes. Firstly, it should inform candidates what you expect from them. Secondly, it should tell candidates what you can offer them in return. Any information that does not fall into these categories is extraneous and should be eliminated.

Following this principle, a concise job description is one that outlines the basic job expectations and requirements and lists compensation and benefits, nothing more. If you think your job descriptions only include relevant information, take a look at them again. You might be surprised at how much you can take out without affecting the quality of your listing. In fact, it might actually improve your listing’s response rate.

 

Cut out the fluff

There is a tendency for businesses to use unnecessarily big words and long sentences to describe relatively simple ideas. For example, “Provide excellent customer service and address needs of customers in a timely and effective manner. Surprise and delight the customers with consistent, delicious food.” is just a long-winded way of saying, “provide good customer service”.

Obviously, you want to convey the standard of service your expect your employees to provide but such details can be addressed later during training. It can be difficult to see your own fluff but it’s worth taking a step back to examine what you’re actually trying to say and if there is a simpler and shorter way of saying it.

We’re not advocating against long job descriptions. We’re not even saying that shorter job descriptions are better than long ones across the board. However, we think it’s worth revisiting your job descriptions given the trend revealed by our data. If anything, you should keep this in mind when posting your next job!

 



Content Manager

Stanley leads content at Merlin. He's on a mission to match the right candidates with the right employers. When he's not writing, he can be found playing with Google Analytics, running A/B tests, and learning Javascript.

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